9 ways to keep your marriage healthy


9 ways to keep your marriage healthy
Here's how to have a healthy relationship every step of the way.

If you're like most American couples, you don't exercise or you stopped regularly exercising when you had children. Try to find new ways to stay active as a couple, whether it's hitting the tennis courts or hiking trails. A 1995 study found that couples who work out together are more likely to stick with an exercise program. And some experts suggest that couples who exercise more frequently tend to have better sex lives.

Pick up a life sport that you can enjoy together for decades to come, like golf, tennis, or hiking. You don't need to be seriously sweating to reap the benefits of regular exercise. Experts say that moderate exercise is enough to help stave off heart disease and other ailments.

7. Gab (a little) to your friend
In the last decade, researchers have noted a rise in "gray divorce," or couples over 50 who are calling it quits. While it's tempting -- and often prudent -- to keep couple conversations behind closed doors, you may actually benefit from blabbing to a close friend.

"It's often helpful to talk to couple friends when these big issues come up," says Dr. Robbins. "Many couples live very privately and discuss these issues with the shades down, but relationship issues like this can often benefit from hearing how people that you trust dealt with a similar situation."

Whether it's hearing how a friend dealt with her husband's infidelity or other big hurdles, a little empathy can put things in perspective. But keep your gabbing under control. Health.com: Myths about safe sex and sexual health

"Clearly it's never a good idea to say anything -- even to a close friend -- that you wouldn't want repeated back to your spouse in five years," warns Dr. Goldstein.

8. Rediscover each other as a couple, sans kids

Forget empty nest syndrome -- a 2008 study found that marital satisfaction actually improves once children leave home. Female participants reported spending equal amounts of time with their partners both while their children lived at home and after, but they noted that the quality of that together time was better once the kids were out of the picture.

"Suddenly the tyranny of the children controlling the household is relieved," says Dr. Robbins. "You don't have to have dinner at 6, you don't have to spend Saturdays at the soccer field, and you don't have to be so responsible all the time." Use this newfound freedom to bend the rules a bit and rediscover what you love about each other.

But if marital problems have already been bubbling, an empty nest can reveal serious tension. "All of a sudden the noise is gone," says Dr. Robbins. "If you didn't have much to talk about, it suddenly becomes more apparent once the kids are gone."

Related:Why You Must Learn to Forgive Your Spouse

9. Be a conscious caregiver


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