happy couple

SLG627 and her husband, Bryan.

I'm pretty happy with my Dear Husband. He wipes the seat when he's done, and he goes shopping for groceries. He also smells nice.

Our secret to marital happiness? I have no clue. But whatever it is that makes us work, I'm thankful every day for it. I'm always interested in keeping us content. So I love reading about strong relationship, and what makes them even stronger.

Here are 7 steps to great relationships from Redbook.

  1. Dream together. Have long-term shared goals like what kind of place you want to live in and when and where you'd love to go on vacation next time you get the chance. Dreaming together creates a nice sense of "us" and reinforces the idea that you and he are a team.
  2. Have sex. Sex is more than physical, it's an important emotional connection, too. Make your sex lives your top priority.
  3. He's your family--first. Make the transition into thinking of the two of you as the family, even more so than the family you come from. Shifting your identity helps build your self-image as a couple. Try not to complain about him to your family members if possible.
  4. Fight right. It's not productive to storm out of the room, scream four-letter words or throw dishes. Instead, when fights arise--as they tend to do--find ways to diffuse tension. Try apologizing quickly or say something nice to him next time things get heated. It will help you blow over the storm and deal with the issue at hand constructively.
  5. Find time for both of you. Spend enough time together to build your connection. That means time for real conversations and sex as often as you need it. Do something for yourself regularly, too.
  6. Be each other's haven. He should be your soft place to land after a hectic day, and you the same for him. Count on each other to listen and get through daily issues.
  7. Face challenges. You'll hit road bumps in your life together. Don't let stress and crisis pull you apart. If you help each other through tough times, they can bring you closer together.

For more discussion on the ups and downs of long-term love, check out the private group, Marriage and Relationships.

What do you think is the secret to a happy relationship?