10 Rules for a Happy Marriage that Kept Us Madly In Love Long-term

Today is my wedding anniversary (February 7th). –Wow, where did the time go?- I remember being a 20 year old bride on my wedding day and just hoping that my new husband and I can have a happy marriage.

Happy marriages are not just love. They take hard work, commitment, and a lot of communication. As well as boundaries, authenticity, patience, and trust. Marriage is the ultimate combination of learning people skills.

Thankfully, I have a husband who wanted a happy and healthy relationship too. He helped me learn what it takes to be happy and confident as an individual and a couple.

This article tells you how to have a happy marriage by revealing our happy marriage rules we live by in my own relationship. And we're working on 20+ years of marriage.

It will help you get perspective to do the work in your own relationship, and make changes to reach the goal of a lasting healthier relationship.

How My Marriage Reached Its 20Th Anniversary Were Still Madly In Love
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The goal of a happy marriage is to enjoy your life together while growing as an individual.

It is cultivating love, support, and being there for your partner even when you do not agree. It's being the ultimate team.

These rules for a happy marriage have helped me -and my husband- to grow in love and intimacy. We have a stronger and healthier relationship because of them.

We're two people in it together.

Note: these are our personal happy marriage rules, what works for us might not work for you. –

Learn to Embrace Yourself & Your Relationship

When you get married, there is a fairy tale that you will live one life as a couple from that moment on. You will merge into this super couple and you'll have the same loves, hates, and ideas.

It's not going to happen so toss that out the window. Embrace your unique individuality and bring that to your marriage.

Your own unique identity is what appealed to your partner enough to marry you. Don't toss it aside.

You get to have your own life AND your joined life with your spouse. Yes, some changes will be made to your own personal life, but you can still have a life that is yours.

You can still make time for your friends, hobbies, family, and more!

The great thing about doing things separately is that there are always new stories and experiences to share!

Example of being an individual:

My husband is a military man. There is a time-honored tradition that when a soldier gets promoted, he buys the first round of drinks at the bar. Bars are not my thing. But my husband supports his unit and attends fun things like this.

He has friends outside our marriage, as do I.

I support him as he does things without me -and he supports me as well-. I will pick him up so he doesn't have to take a cab home. I will offer to bake goodies for his co-worker to show my support despite my absence. And we share the story of the events and we get to bond.

We have even been known to travel without one another.

Example of Being a Couple:

You have activities that you both enjoy, friends that you both love, places you love to go together, and little moments to build and create intimacy and memories.

What makes a happy marriage is that you are both bringing bits of your life to it, and it gives you experience to help you thrive when you have conflict or hardship.

Making this one of the most important rules for a happy marriage. Bringing what makes you unique is what can help build your healthy relationship, keeping it fun, fresh, and amazing.

Healthy Relationship Rules- Being Unique And Having Interests Outside Marriage.
Us the night before our wedding in Feb 2004.

We respect each other's boundaries.

When you share a life, a household, and yes, a bed; you can really get on each other's nerves! -I think about the early years after the honeymoon phase ended. We really were rubbing each other's nerves raw some days.- There are days that you just cannot seem to get along.

After 20 years, there are still days where I just want to be left alone despite my husband's best attempts to make me feel better.

Of all the rules for a happy marriage, this is one you should NEVER break.

Setting and respecting boundaries is the most important rule for a happy marriage.

When your partner sets a boundary, respect it. -This is not to be confused with doing as you're told, but healthy limits.-

Respectful boundaries are acceptable, but unobtainable standards are not. They are NOT the same thing.

Examples of Healthy Boundaries & Limits

  • Example: I LOVE dogs. I would have a few dozen if I wouldn't get in trouble for being a dog hoarder. My husband's current limit is three dogs. We discuss each dog prior to adoption, even though the dogs are essentially mine. It's not that I need his permission, but I am respecting his needs to choose what dogs he interacts with in our home. We make this decision together so our joined life can be happier and healthier.
  • Example: I have PTSD. I have had it long before I met my husband. I cannot sleep well because of it. When I am having a PTSD flair up, my husband asks me what I need and does just that. If I need silence and to be left alone, he makes it happen. If I need to leave my home to take a self care trip to recenter and heal, he takes time off to take care of things at home. He respects when I cannot tolerate touch, and I need my space. He helps me feel secure when I am feeling vulnerable by respecting my needs.

Healthy boundaries can include: saying no to sex, being home at a descent hour, keeping volume or lights low so your partner can sleep, respecting work hours, respecting privacy, telling spouse of intent prior to large decisions, asking for spouse's opinion on decisions that will affect you both, etc.

You and your partner should discuss your boundaries and how you'd like to approach situation before you encounter them.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Shared Interests As A Couple, Hiking.
We decided to go hiking for this anniversary. Something we both enjoy.

Learn each other's Love Language.

When you date someone, you go to great lengths to show your partner how much you love and adore them. It gives us dopamine! And fuels our love meters.

My husband was very good at showing his love in my love language.

Despite him living less than 2 miles from our work, he would drive 22 miles to pick me up and take us to work so he could spend more time with me. He was speaking right to my heart, and I fell hard!

After our marriage, our lives and priorities changed. We no longer had the carefree life of single people. We had commitment, a marriage. And a ton of responsibilities to boot.

It wasn't the happy dating life anymore that is full of fun and love. Life happened.

And that is what scares people about marriage: the spontaneous fast exciting romance dies because life takes place. That doesn't have to be true.

During our first 2 years of marriage, we encountered HUGE life changes. We had two large moves: one across country and one across the world to Japan! We entered military life, had a baby, and completely lost our support system.

And through that, our relationship got lost in the chaos.

We thought were filling each other's marriage cup, but we weren't quite showing love the way each other needed to thrive in our new roles.

We both had grown and changed and so did our love language. I was no longer a quality time girl. And he was no longer a physical touch man. We both evolved into our new role as independent adults and parents.

During one of my therapy sessions, I shared my frustration that our relationship was scratchy. We just weren't clicking like 2 years ago. And why would we? Two years ago, we were completely different people.

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My Therapist recommended this book: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.

It turns out that we were showing each other love, but not in the way we perceived as loving.

This book helped us both learn how to appreciate other ways to show love, and learn to communicate how we would like to be loved.

Bonus: it helped me learn how I like to be loved best and has improved my self care plan!

We adapted and are thriving now thanks to this book! Find your love language with the official quiz!

You can read more about love languages in Gary Chapman's Book: The 5 Love Languages The Secret to Love that Lasts.

Trust me, it will change your outlook on how to love your spouse and yourself, and make this rule for a happy marriage a piece of cake.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- My Husband Making Time For Me In A Photo, By Signing I Love You In Sign Language.
My man made time for me during his Iraq deployment by sending me little “I love you” signs in his photos. I'm a words of affection girl and seeing this made my heart melt!

Create time for each other.

Life is so busy, and it is so easy to just give less at home than during your work day.

You're so worn out from work or being with the kids all day, it's hard to give to your partner.

There are kids, busy jobs, exercise, stress, and then life also throws curve balls to you –like having to buy new tires when all you wanted to do was have a romantic anniversary getaway… yup, it happened to us, but don't worry, we still had an amazing day! Turns out taking a romantic drive with brand new tires is sexy!-

Little efforts create huge results for a happy marriage! And you need to make the most of those few minutes.

Examples of ways we create time for one another:

  • We turn going to the grocery store into a date.
  • I drive him to and from the train station so we can talk before and after his day.
  • I don't work on days my hubby has off from work.
  • We go to bed at 9pm and talk, cuddle, and play “Stardew Valley” until we sleep.
  • We play games together and have shared hobbies.
  • We take off as many birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and just because days as we can. And not to get more chores done, but to appreciate each other and refresh our bond as a couple.

To have a happy marriage, you need to make time for it.

Your marriage is like a plant. When given the right conditions, it grows flowers. But left neglected, it withers.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Respecting Boundaries Creates A Trusting Relationship
Taking care of him while he was recovering from hip surgery. In sickness and in health. Even during his recovery, we made time to have special moments together.

We talk about our goals, both individual and shared.

When you merge your life with someone, you need to be on the same page to have a cohesive life together.

You're going to have personal goals-like I want to lose 20 lbs for summer- and you will have shared goals as a couple too. Talking about any goal that affects your partner is how you stay on the same page.

This year my husband and I have discussed our goals frequently. We've discussed my husband's upcoming military retirement and our plan to transition smoothly. We're talking about what our life is going to look like in the next 6 months. I frequently talk about what I would like to work on with my mental health, my hobbies, how I want to have a career in blogging, and my pups, of course! And then we talk about our mutual goals: finances, home ownership soon, major purchases, and much more.

Life as a couple goes so much more smoother when you're talking about your goals as a couple and make a plan together.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Happy Couple Talk Over Their Personal Goals Together So They Can Create Goals For Their Future Together.
Another anniversary. Our last year in Omaha. Nebraska.

We learned better conflict resolution and communication skills.

We have a huge relationship rule in our home: yelling is for danger only. And if one of us wins an argument, we both lose.

Yes, we get mad; and get frustrated, and we even have slept apart; but we always sit down and talk it out when our nerves have settled.

There is no blame game.

I make mistakes and so does he. And we both ask for feedback so we can do better next time.

And in times where we couldn't see eye to eye, we have sought the help of a therapist to help guide us on our path.

A happy marriage and healthy relationship takes work, even when you're angry and hurt. No good comes from losing your temper and saying something that you can never take back.

And when push comes to shove, we set it all aside and become the dream team again! Yes, even when we are mad at each other.

We work it out, we leave it in the past. There is no point in bringing up past mistakes of your partner when they are trying to do better. None of us like to reminded of how we messed up.

Leave pasts mistakes in the past, and you can start working toward the future with less baggage.

Kiss 10Th Anniversary 2013
Celebrating 10 years together.

We celebrate small victories.

I am relatively new to being a working woman. My blog at a month old made $0.36, and I was over the moon. What does my hubby do when I tell him the news? He congratulates me and we soft high five!

When my husband had hip surgery in 2016, we slept on the sleeper sofa for a month. On the day that they cleared him to climb the stairs, I shared his triumph on Facebook and cheered him on!

When one of us gets good news, we pick up ice cream from the store on the way home. We even take it up to bed and watch Netflix!

We buy flowers for each other when we're proud of one another.

We swap game cards to show we care.

We don't take a moment for granted. We're not guaranteed another one.

Small victories allow you to cheer one another on and show our support for one another.

Showing support for your spouse helps them feel you appreciate them. Spouses that feel loved and appreciated will reciprocate it!

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Learning Conflict Resolution Skills Helps You Be Happy Together, Even When You Have A Problem
I cheered for him every step he took after his hip surgery. All those little moments were leading up to something amazing!

We don't do 50/50, but do this instead.

There is no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. Yes, I said it. If you ask your partner to give 50% all the time, you're asking for the moon.

The truth is no one can give the same amount of energy every day.

We are constantly spending little amounts of our energy as the day goes. And that's not just physical energy, but mental as well.

Sometimes all a partner can do is slump into a pile at the end of the day, and other days they're ready to take on the world. It's okay for the other partner to pick up slack on bad days.

Marriage is about propping each other up when times are hard. That includes mental and physical energy.

Some days my husband can give 75% and I can do 25%. Other days I can give 98% and he can do 2%. We both do what we can, when we can to make our team whole.

Marriage is a scale you have to balance to get results.

On his bad days, I do more; and on mine, he does.

That may include hiring help, helping each other accomplish a single task, recruiting friends and family to help, or one spouse doing more to help ease the burden of the other.

We work together to make our life work so we can have a happy marriage.

We are just two adults taking care of our home and lives together. Because teamwork makes the dream work!-

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- No One Can Do It All, We All Know That Teamwork Makes The Dream Work! Work With Your Strengths.
Being a military wife means that sometimes I am doing 100% because he's serving his country. And that's okay.

We both adapt to grow in our marriage.

Change is scary, and many of us feel that change is bad. But change is what can help us grow if we allow it.

In the 20 years we've been married, we've both grown and changed so many times that we barely remember who we were the day we met.

And you will grow and change too.

And as we grow, we frequently ask for feedback on how we can both improve.

Because that is how we keep our team going.

Whether we ask for communication clarification, how to love each other better, or expressing what we need in our marriage; we are learning to grow in our marriage.

We both have learned to take life's little surprises and tackle them together by choosing to grow together instead of choosing to grow apart.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Healthy Relationships Are Based On Choices To Grow Together.
Our engagement party was a beautiful Christmas theme. All of our loved ones brought one ornament from their tree to help us create our own first Christmas Tree as a couple. It is still one of my favorite memories.

We don't quit when things get ugly.

There was one time I asked my husband if my mental illnesses was too much for him to handle. It was at the height of my depression and anxiety. I wanted him to have a happier life, even if it wasn't with me.

And what he told me flabbergasted me.

He said I would rather be miserable with you instead of happy with someone else. We're in this together and we're going to fight it together.

He saved me that day.

He inspired me to fight for myself, but for him as well. I wanted a happy marriage for him.

And that's what we do now.

This rule for a happy marriage keeps you fighting for each other instead of just throwing away a wonderful relationship.

When we don't see eye to eye, we have a joke we say: You said yes, now you're stuck with me. And we both end up laughing.

I remember a conversation we had before we wed about what we wanted for our marriage.

We wanted not just a love, but a best friend. Our goal was for this marriage to work and last.

For a love that last with your best friend, that takes effort. Divorce wasn't to be thrown around just because we upset one another.

We wanted a happy marriage that would last. -Remember on “Friends” when Rachel and Ross were on a break? And that is a point of contention for them in their relationship from that moment on. Yeah, we didn't want that.-

Marriage is not something you take a break from, and come back to when you're ready.

A truly committed and happy marriage is two people fighting together to make it work.

That is the secret of a long happy marriage: becoming a dream team.

10 Healthy Relationship Rules To Strengthen Your Bond- Healthy Relationships Dont Quit.  They Fight For Improvement And Togetherness.  We Resolve Conflicts To Make It Work.
I am so blessed to have married my best friend.

These Rules for a Happy Marriage Helped Us Reach Our 20th Wedding Anniversary

A happy marriage or even relationship is two unique individuals who are working to make it last.

Think about all your long-term friendships. It's not one sided, it's two people enjoying each other company and making it work.

But with marriage, you live together and love together. You share pain and happiness.

I know with my marriage; I am always learning and growing to I can be the best wife and friend for my hubby. I am so thankful to have a partner who is supportive and loving.

Here is to 20 years and many more!!

Tell me your own rules for a happy marriage in the comments! I can't wait to hear how you are making it work!!

10 Rules For A Happy Marriage From A Married Couple

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Krystian Howe
Krystian Howehttps://withloveandfluffs.com
Hi! I'm Krystian. The Creator of With Love, Me. I created this blog for others like myself: people living with anxiety disorder on a daily basis. I have been living with anxiety since my teens. This blog is to give you a how to guide for living with anxiety, because I sure didn't have one. I want to save you the pain and misery I had of figuring it out all on my own. Join me and my service dog Koda on the journey to help you manage your anxiety. See you on the blog and our socials!
Krystian Howe
Hi! I'm Krystian. The Creator of With Love, Me. I created this blog for others like myself: people living with anxiety disorder on a daily basis. I have been living with anxiety since my teens. This blog is to give you a how to guide for living with anxiety, because I sure didn't have one. I want to save you the pain and misery I had of figuring it out all on my own. Join me and my service dog Koda on the journey to help you manage your anxiety. See you on the blog and our socials!
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  1. Happy belated wedding anniversary! Here’s to many more! I live hearing from couples who have been married a long time. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you two.

  2. I love everything about this post. You offer so many great thoughts. Many things I take for granted that make up our happy marriage. Things you just don’t even think about. Thank you for pointing all of these things out so that I am more appreciative.

  3. What a sweet post! I love your point about celebrating the small victories. My husband and I do the same, and it’s such a meaningful thing. Taking care to cultivate our close relationships is so important for creating a foundation for wellbeing in other areas of our lives 🙂

  4. These are some beautiful marriage tips! You and your hubbie look like you’re still in love (congrats to almost 20 years)! I use some of the same tips in my marriage (married 6 years, together 8 years) and they really work for a successful marriage!

  5. Reading an article like this honestly makes me tear up a bit. I feel so weakhearted sometimes. I hope to one day have your strength. Thank you for sharing your marriage rules, I’ll be saving this 🙂

  6. This is such a beautiful post! These are all fantastic points, especially not quitting when things are getting ugly! It’s so much easier to walk away than to communicate and work as a team to conquer and overcome obstacles. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I thoroughly appreciated this. You make me want to go out and find myself a husband. It is certainly too difficult to choose my favorite rule. But definitely the being friends with each other definitely was my takeaway to meditate on.

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