It's no question that it takes work to protect, nurture, and improve a marriage. Between your day-to-day responsibilities and obligations, sometimes it can seem like an impossible task. While some relationships may benefit from calling it quits, others can benefit from making a few changes. 
Drawn from evidence-based practices, here are 9 proactive strategies you can do to strengthen your marriage.
  1. Communicate regularly. In the age of technology, it's almost impossible not to get distracted. You may have even experienced days without having a genuine conversation with your spouse. To deepen intimacy and strengthen your relationship, it's essential to feel comfortable communicating about your life, interests, dreams, and stressors. Even for a small amount of time per day, listen to one another express their thoughts and feelings, free from interruptions or distractions. 
  2. Give each other space. Finding the right amount of time to spend with one another is one of the most challenging things to achieve in marriage. Too much can feel smothering, while too little can be misinterpreted as inattentive. While everyone has a different amount of personal space they require, be attentive to you and your partner's needs. The key is that you both make a collective effort to spend quality time together while also allowing each other the space you need.
  3.  Learn to repair and exit the argument. According to expert John Gottman, using humor, offering a caring remark, or even backing down, are examples of repair attempts before an argument gets entirely out of control. The happiest of couples have identified which strategies work best for them and practice them regularly. Generally speaking, offering signs of appreciation and openly sharing feelings along the way is the fundamental idea.  
  4. Focus on the positives. Make an effort to recognize and acknowledge the positives more than the negatives while discussing problems. For example, even if you believe that you "never have any fun together," it may be worth your while to point out the enjoyable, funny times you share. By making regular deposits to your emotional bank account, you promote a more prosperous climate of positivity.
  5. Use the 5 to 1 ratio. According to Gottman, having five positive interactions for every negative one is essential in nurturing a relationship. Everyone can appreciate the many varieties of positive attention, and while acknowledging the things they’re doing well may seem subtle, it can make a lasting change in your relationship. 
  6. Edit your communication skills. Thriving couples are kind to each other. Avoid saying every critical thought that comes to mind when discussing touchy subjects, and find ways to express your needs and concerns respectfully, without blame or shame. 
  7. Divide your labor. While positive interactions and excellent communication are essential, recent studies show that equally, dividing household labor is among the top three reasons people cite as keys to making a marriage work.
  8. Work on your friendship. Friendship correlates with understanding, admiration, and mutual respect. Couples with deep friendships report high levels of marital satisfaction, according to research.
  9. Seek help early. On average, couples wait six years before getting help for marital issues-meaning that the average couple lives with unhappiness and dissatisfaction for far too long. If you feel there's any sign of trouble, seek help early on. There's no shame in working with a counselor to help you and your partner improve your relationship.