15 Ways to Cultivate a Happy Marriage

If these were missing from your wedding vows, consider making them part of your everyday life now

On their wedding day, many couples participate in the exchange of marriage vows.

This traditional exchange of promises between soon-to-be husband and wife began as early as the 16th century. The vows to love and cherish till death do us part appear in Church of England’s first “Book of Common Prayer.”

I admit that I’ve long forgotten most of my wedding vows.

My wife and I wrote our own almost 30 years ago.

Many couples do forget, for better or worse. One thing I am sure of, though, is that cultivating a happy marriage has called on both of us to do things we never specifically promised.

Consider the following list.

Perhaps some of these ingredients for a happy marriage were missing from your marriage vows.

If they were missing, you might try dedicating yourself to these right now:

1.) Putting your smartphone away and listening when you don’t feel like it.

2.) Being curious when you hear something you don’t like instead of rushing to judgment.

3.) Doing the dishes when it’s not your turn.

4.) Taking time off from work to comfort, support, and make love to your spouse.

5.) Helping your spouse take care of your parents-in-law.

6.) Watching your spouse’s favorite TV show or movie instead of the one you want to watch.

7.) Going to bed early or getting up later to reconnect when you’ve been busy.

8.) Changing diapers when it’s not your turn.

9.) Standing with your spouse when no one else will.

10.) Getting a different job so you can be home more.

11.) Getting up with the baby when it’s not your turn.

12.) Spending less so you can both get out of debt.

13.) Saying no to your friends or family so you can say yes to your spouse.

14.) Staying or getting physically fit.

15.) Remembering what makes your spouse happy and doing it often.

Jon Beaty, counselor and father of two, lives near Portland, Oregon. He’s the author of the book “If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying: 7 Habits for Thriving in Your Faith, Relationships and Work.”