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85 beautiful ways to make your marriage last forever
Imperfect people can create strong marriages, and they do, every day. It is possible! Although marriage is hard, it's also a thrilling experience, and the most important relationship you'll ever cultivate. - photo by Katelyn Carmen
When the party is over, and you drive away with a "Just Married" sign slapped on the back of your car, you find yourself journeying into the most beautiful, exciting, heartwrenching and complicated adventure you've ever had in your life.

Unfortunately, there are no perfect marriage manuals. However, there are plenty of people who have successfully navigated through 1-50 years of marriage who have a wealth of wisdom.

As a young, married woman, I love talking with couples who have happy, strong marriages. I want to know what they did to build a solid foundation. I want to know how I can build a relationship that will last forever.

I asked 85 women on social media what the best marriage advice they ever received is, and this is what they shared:

  1. Don't compare your marriage to other marriages.
  2. Marriage isn't about thinking alike, but learning to think well together.
  3. Communicate via voice, video and physical contact. Cut back on messaging. Your prime communication method should not be texting.
  4. Ask your spouse, "What can I do for you today?" every single day.
  5. Show your spouse appreciation for the little things.
  6. Kiss each other goodnight, every single night.
  7. Only flirt with your spouse. But do it well, and do it often.
  8. "Thou shalt not nag."
  9. Never lose your sense of humor.
  10. Talk openly about finances, goals and dreams.
  11. Your husband isn't a mind reader. Tell him what you want. Don't make him guess.
  12. Fight naked.
  13. Look beyond yourself at the bigger picture. Where do you want your family to be in 20 years?
  14. Marriage takes three people: you, your spouse and God. Don't leave any one of those people out.
  15. Put your marriage and spouse before your children.
  16. Say, "I love you," every single day.
  17. Treat your spouse like the person he or she has the potential to be.
  18. H.A.L.T.: If you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, stop the discussion and fix those things first.
  19. Don't expect your spouse to do something around the house unless you ask him or her to do it. Assuming always causes problems.
  20. Remember, you can't change your spouse. You can only change yourself.
  21. Keep dating each other.
  22. Pray together every single day. Tell God about all the reasons why you love your spouse.
  23. Don't search for the perfect person. Be the perfect person.
  24. Marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. Give yourself entirely, and don't hold back.
  25. Let go of expectations.
  26. Keep your married life between you and your spouse.
  27. Genuinely compliment your spouse on a regular basis.
  28. Say, "thank you" to your spouse often.
  29. Be slow to criticize. Love your spouse despite his or her faults, and he or she will do the same for you.
  30. Never lose faith, and never give up on God.
  31. Brag about your spouse to your friends -- when he or she is listening and when he or she isn't.
  32. Communication, communication, communication!
  33. Don't just marry someone you can live with. Marry the person that you can't live without.
  34. Build a strong foundation, so when things get bad, you have something to fall back on.
  35. Work hard and be ambitious.
  36. Never criticize your spouse's family.
  37. Keep a united front, especially with your children. Never pit your kids against your spouse.
  38. Remember that you chose your spouse for forever.
  39. If something in your relationship is broken, don't throw it away; fix it.
  40. Don't make mountains out of mole hills. Don't waste your time fighting over little things. It's not worth it. Let small things go.
  41. Always be kind. Kindness goes a long way.
  42. Take the time to serve one another, no matter how tired or worn out you may be. Those little acts make a huge difference.
  43. No matter how he or she loads the dishwasher, it is always the right way.
  44. Never withhold sex as a punishment.
  45. Don't broadcast your problems to everyone else. If you need to talk to someone about it, other than your spouse, get a therapist.
  46. Strengthen each other's weaknesses.
  47. Be open and honest about your feelings.
  48. Listen without being defensive.
  49. Focus on making your spouse happy.
  50. Don't marry someone thinking that you'll change him or her.
  51. Don't try to manipulate or control situations.
  52. Pray for your spouse daily in your personal prayers. Be specific. Talk to God about his or her challenges and trials, and ask Him what you can do to be a better spouse.
  53. Trust in God.
  54. Keep the word "divorce" out of your vocabulary.
  55. Never make a big decision when you're angry.
  56. Accept the quirky things your spouse does. Deep down, those are probably the things that you would miss the most if they were gone.
  57. At least once a day, think about at least one of the reasons why you chose to marry your spouse.
  58. Don't keep score.
  59. Be quick to forgive and slow to anger.
  60. Love is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Choose both every day.
  61. Understand that it's OK to have a difference of opinion. Everyone has unsolvable problems in marriage. The only difference between happy and unhappy couples is how they handle them.
  62. Celebrate both the little and big joys in life.
  63. Have lots of sex.
  64. One day you'll wake up next to your spouse and think, "YUCK!" Understand that it's normal, and it will go away.
  65. Make your spouse your best friend.
  66. Respect your mother-in-law, no matter how hard it is.
  67. Be quick to forgive and quicker to apologize.
  68. Always assume the best.
  69. Remember your vows. Review them on a regular basis.
  70. It doesn't matter who is right, but what is right.
  71. Never talk bad about your spouse to other people. Protect him or her and always keep his or her name safe.
  72. Remember, your spouse's feelings should come before everyone else's. That includes your best friends, co-workers and parents.
  73. Don't be selfish.
  74. Kiss passionately. Hold hands. Cuddle. Make physical affection a priority in your marriage.
  75. Rely on each other, and not on other people.
  76. Love the person you married, not the person you hoped you married.
  77. Be yourself.
  78. Fight for each other, not with each other.
  79. Never forget that marriage needs continual maintenance.
  80. Spoil each other. Keep track of the things your spouse loves and buy them for him or her.
  81. When you're wrong, admit it. When you're right, don't rub it in their face.
  82. Choose each other every day.
  83. Create your own traditions together.
  84. Go to bed, and sleep it off. Chances are, things will feel a lot better in the morning.
  85. Just love him or her.
Imperfect people can create strong marriages, and they do, every day. It is possible! Although marriage is hard, it's also a thrilling experience, and the most important relationship you'll ever cultivate.
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