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Seven secrets of a good marriage

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Secrets long lasting marriage
We all want our marriages to last forever, but the sad reality is that around two in three now end in divorce, and many in the first couple of years. So what are we doing wrong?

Back in our grandparents' day, people were married for life - so how did they make it work? Were they just reluctant to get divorced or did they actually know the secrets to a long and happy marriage?

With help from Relate couples counsellor and sex therapist, Mo Kurimbokus, we've identified the seven secrets to a long and happy marriage. If you've been going through a rough patch lately, or just want to get back that newlywed spark, then look no further - we've got all the answers.

Communication

It sounds so simple, but talking to each other and opening up is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy relationship. When you have a problem at home or at work who do you talk to - and who does he? Your friends, or your mum?

Remember how well you know each other. When something's on your mind he'll be able to tell and if you're not talking about it then he might just think you're being grumpy. He's much more likely to respond well if you share the problem, and the same goes for him as well.

Expert tip
Relate's Mo Kurimbokus says: 'Listening, understanding and empathy are all part of communication - not just talking. Speak openly and honestly with each other about your thoughts and feelings. Remember that men in general are not particularly good at expressing their emotions. Help him to develop the language to express his feelings.'

Don't give up

It's so much easier to walk away from something than to try to make it work. Every relationship goes through rough patches, but a lot of the time things can be worked on, and you'll come out the other side a stronger couple. Some things can seem so big you can never get over them - but isn't it worth a try?

Expert tip

Mo Kurimbokus says: 'Happily ever after does not happen effortlessly. Relationships need working on; you need to learn to compromise, to know when to agree to disagree. You need to know when to take a stand and when to back down gracefully.

'The more you work at it, the stronger the relationship will be and the happier the ever after too. When we get it right, we learn and when we get it wrong, we also learn. Either way we learn and we can move forward, so explore and learn together.'

Learn to solve problems

When things go wrong, do you row about it? It's often very hard not to, and while arguing is a normal, healthy part of most relationships, it's important to make sure that it is constructive and you're not just yelling for the sake of it.

Resolving arguments and solving the problem without letting it escalate is quite a skill and one you do really need to master for the sake of your relationship.

Expert tip

Mo says: 'Don't start throwing abuse around, stick to the issue in hand and don't argue over trivia. Give each other time and space to put their argument forward. Don't interrupt.

'Listen when you partner speaks, Accept your mistakes and say sorry. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Work towards a compromise and accept and celebrate difference.'

Keep the passion alive

Often one of the biggest differences between a new couple and one that's been together for years is the lack of passion or exciting sex in their relationship. There's no reason that this should be the case!

You might have been there and done that loads of times, but you are still two people who did (and still do) find each other sexually attractive. You might just need to remind each other of that sometimes by making a bit of extra effort.

Whether that's buying some new lingerie, or him agreeing to a night off from watching football to make time for dinner out or a cosy night in, small touches here and there will make a big difference.

Expert tip

Mo says: 'Make quality time for each other. Touch regularly; remember that human touch has the power to soothe, support and encourage - whether it's a peck on the cheek, a hug or making love.

'Tell each other what it is that you want and what works for you. Give yourselves permission to experiment and explore new things whether it be a new sex toy or a new position and spend time to be sensual with each other. And don't forget make plenty of time for cuddles!'

Have your own life

When you become a solid part of a couple, it's easy to lose a bit of your own individual identity and let everything become about 'we' and 'us'. This is mainly what relationships are about - considering someone else's feelings as well as your own - but you don't need it to take over and become all you're concerned about.

Make time for your friends, or take an evening out a week to do something that interests you. It's too easy to make excuses as to why you shouldn't do that Spanish class or set up a regular trip to the cinema with a friend - but just do it. What's a few hours out of your week? We bet it'll make you come back to your partner feeling that much happier.

Expert tip

Mo says: 'Make time to be alone and to pursue your hobbies and interests. Being a couple doesn't mean that you're no longer an individual. You deserve time to yourself. This will also give you the opportunity to contribute something new and fresh to the relationship.'

Respect

When you've been with someone for a long time, you begin to take them for granted. We all do it!

We often end up speaking to our partners in a way we would never dream of speaking to anyone else. Of course, this is partly because you're not as close with other people, but imagine if your friends or family could hear you speaking to your partner like that, or making unreasonable demands. Would you be embarrassed? If the answer is yes, then don't do it.

Expert tip

Mo says: 'Treat your partner the way you wish to be treated. Remember we all want to be loved and respected for who we are. Take time to appreciate and remember the qualities that attracted you to your partner in the first place and let them know how much you love them.

Fun

We've advised you to make time for yourself and to go out and do things with friends, but that shouldn't mean you can't have fun with your partner as well.

When you live with someone, you see them at home, watch the telly with them and talk about the kids and the bills and all the practicalities of life - and then you go out and get your fun, interesting conversation elsewhere. It doesn't need to be this way!

It can be hard to make quality time together, as we all have busy lives, but you don't need to go out to have a laugh. Stay in and chat rather than just watching television. Play stupid games with each other - do things you used to do when you were dating. You should soon see the benefits.

Expert tip

Mo says: 'Laugh together and spend quality time with each other. Share your funny stories and moments. A good laugh can dispel all the cobwebs and strengthen that bond you have.

'Learn to relax in each other's company and don't rely on your partner for ideas of where to go and what to do.'

Have we missed any essential tips to making a relationship last? Let us know in the comments below!

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RENEE

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO LIE, WHEN YOU NO YOUR GOING TO GET CAUGHT. MY HUSBAND INSIST ON LYING ABOUT NOT HAVE RELATION WITH OTHER PEOPLE BUT KEEP GETTING CAUGHT WHAT SHOULD I DO

joe mayo

my girlfriend is always lieing and cannot tell the truth she says she wants to be with me but tells her mum and another boy she wants to be with them and when she has time on her own she gets in contact with me and tells me how much she loves me and wants to be with me i really dont know what to do and it is making me do silly things i cant think straight and i cannot do things properly i get confused all the time

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