Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning – I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it.” – Stephen Gaines

In the past marriage was considered as a sacred thing not only as an institution; marriage was a symbol of togetherness and community between a man and a woman who shared their lives and created new ones. Today things have changed, there isn’t a big difference between the number of marriages and the number of divorces in the same year.

Although common these days, divorce is something newly married couples fear. They want to discover the key to successful marriage; to know how the elderly couples who can often been seen sitting on the benches in the park cuddling, have managed to stay together for so long time. The truth, there isn’t a magical “recipe” for a happy marriage. As Stephen Gianes once said: “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”, if you want to enjoy a happy marriage with your partner until death do you part, you ought to work for it, not to wait for the magic to last.

The key to happy marriage is in the small things we do every day. Here are the 11 important things happily married couples do to retain the spark and harmony in their relationship.

1. They Spend Time Together

Happily married couples always find time for each other. No matter how busy their schedules are and the obligations they have, they always know how to fulfill their free time together, sharing their love and compassion.

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2. They Know How To Communicate

Good communication is vital for maintaining a relationship stable. The happy couples know how to communicate in different situations; even in conflicts, which are inevitable for every marriage, they know how to discuss and solve problems in peace.

3. They Hug Every Day

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Scientific researches have shown today that a 20-second hug a day is enough to keep the closeness in the relationship. It has been proven that when hugging the so-called hormone of happiness oxytocin is released. Hence partners who find time for at least one hug a day, have more chances to keep the spark in their relationship.

4. They Listen to Each Other

For a good communication a reasonable dialog is more than important. Happily married couples say what they have to say, but always take into account the opinion of the other side. Listening to each other is vital for letting your partner know that you care about his/her point of view.

5. They Plan The Future Together

Happily married couples make plans about the future together. Regardless if it is about plans on personal or professional front, they always make decisions together. This way they ensure their common future path.

6. They Reassure Each Other About Their Feelings

One of the most important things that contribute to fruitful marriage is showing the feeling of love, care and understanding. Happily married couples remind each other of their love by saying “I love you” at least once a day or minimum three times a week.

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7. They Have Children

Raising one or more children is not easy but is without a doubt the most rewarding thing in marriage. Children bring intimacy between partners to a higher level, while the whole parenthood experience helps the partners retain their closeness.

8. They Are Grateful Towards Each Other

By expressing gratitude, happily married spouses make each other feel appreciated about their contribution in marriage. This way they show that they value the love and contentment they receive from their marriage and get motivated to keep up with the good work.

9. They Prioritize Their Marriage

In a lifelong relationship, spouses put each other first. For them the work deadlines, gatherings with friends or colleagues are not more important than the spouse. For them, it is their marriage that comes first, before anything else.

10. They Forgive Each Other

Perfection doesn’t exist. Everyone makes mistakes. Any lifelong couple would say that the success of their marriage is a result of their ability and willingness to forgive each other.

11. They Don’t Complain

Complaining doesn’t solve problems; there is absolutely no purpose and benefit from complaining. Happy married couples replace complaining by communication in collaboration when it comes to solving issues.