5 secrets to making your marriage last forever

In marriage, creating your own happily ever after boils down to just a few key pointers.

Investing time in your marriage
Everyone who takes that long walk down the aisle (or short jaunt to the Justice of the Peace) hopes that it will result in years upon years of wedded bliss. But the happily-ever-after fairytale ending doesn't always come easily -- it requires effort from both parties to achieve long-lasting happiness.

We all know the standard "never go to bed angry" rule, but what else does it take? We asked Sophie Keller, life coach and author of How Happy Is Your Marriage? 50 Great Tips to Make Your Relationship Last Forever (Harlequin, 2011) for her relationship advice, which includes many personal reflections and examples from her own life. "I took it all from my marriage," she confirms. "I just wrote what I knew."

Here are some highlights from Keller's keys to achieving wedded bliss.

1. Invest your time
Make it a priority to incorporate small changes into your own behaviour. Think of married life as a scenic road trip with many exciting detours and side trips along the way, rather than a race to the finish line. For example, when it comes to saying sorry, Keller recommends taking responsibility if you've upset your partner. "Apologize immediately and sincerely so you can both move happily on," she says.

Integrate this mantra over the course of several weeks or a month to seamlessly add it into your life together. Let your partner see you making these little efforts and improvements. If you lead by example you'll see how quickly the little things add up to hugely positive impacts on your marriage.

2. Eliminate the negative

Focus on what your marriage has going for it, rather than what it may be lacking. Do you and your spouse laugh together often? Do you have a strong track record of overcoming difficult times? Has your union resulted in happy, healthy children? "Keep in mind what you have," says Keller, "not what you don't have."

She also suggests eliminating certain phrases from your vocabulary, such as "I'm not good enough" or "Why would (they) want to stay with me." Phrases like these only hold us back. Not sure where to start? Emphasize the positive, as Keller does in her own day-to-day vocabulary: "I never use the word ‘failure'; I always use the word ‘feedback.' I don't believe in failure. It's all a process."

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more secrets to a happy, lasting marriage on page 2

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