4. When it comes to our relationship, our in-laws are outlawed. Mother-in-laws are at the center of many a sitcom and romantic comedy shenanigan — and for good reason. They're notorious for causing marital strife both on-screen and off. That's why my husband and I have made it clear that while I can't control his mother's opinion on my cooking and he will never escape my mom's incessant nagging on the upkeep of our yard, their thoughts on our relationship are unwelcome. When we need advice or just to vent, we seek out the listening ear of a friend, not a family member.
5. Our bedroom is a child-free zone. Nothing kills the mood faster than reaching under the sheets mid-romp to dislodge an uncomfortable object that turns out to be a half-empty sippy cup.
6. We use our past to our advantage, not our detriment. My husband and I both come from divorced families, a fact that many studies agree puts couples at greater risk for divorce themselves. But history doesn't have to repeat itself. We talk openly, both together and with therapists, about what went wrong in our parents' marriages and how it affected our lives and our perception of matrimony.
7. We maintain common interests. One of the very first conversations my husband and I shared was a discussion of a book we had both recently read. It's dorky, but we're suckers for a good horror novel. While the differences in our personalities and our day-to-day are vast (he works long hours in law enforcement; I work from home as a freelance writer), we share reading material and talk about it regularly. A book club for two may not be the foundation on which our marriage is built, but it is a reminder of why we got together in the first place beyond the roles we have assumed since our relationship began.
8. We practice emotional self-regulation. In an article highlighting the skills every person should master before getting married, YourTango expert, Dr. Susan Heitler, emphasizes the importance of learning to control your emotions. You can remove nails driven into a board, but you can't undo the holes they create. The same is true for words said in the heat of the moment. Taking time to cool down instead of entering into a shouting match has been the difference between a marital spat and a major blow up. Keep reading...