Bailey’s Love Tips: 25 Longtime Couples Share the Marriage Tip That’s Kept Them Together

February 28th, 2020

Good Housekeeping shared some great marriage advice from 45 couples and we’ve narrowed down our top 25! Enjoy the wisdom from longtime couples in their own words!

Marriage advice can be tricky. Every couple is different, and what worked for your great-grandparents or your BFF and her husband may be the complete opposite of what helps you and your significant other. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from all the lovebirds! Each long-term marriage has its own secret to success, and hearing tips from others may inspire you to find your own. From celebs to people in your neighborhood, here’s some great advice for a strong, enduring relationship.

1) SAY THESE 3 WORDS EVERY DAY (They’re Not I Love You) 

“Whenever we’re working on something, we make it a point to ask the other person,’Can I help?’ It’s so simple, but often people assume that their spouse will automatically know what they need. You have to say it. It’s hard to feel resentful towards the other if you start the conversation with those words.” 

—Mike and Colleen Dollar, married 14 years, LaGrange, GA

2) HAVE YOUR OWN HOBBIES

“We’ve discovered it’s important to have independent hobbies and the freedom to do them without pressure or guilt from your spouse.” 

—Tess and John Hohman, married 22 years, Minneapolis, MN

3) DON’T LET THE KIDS TURN YOU AGAINST EACH OTHER

“We always back each other up with decisions made for the kids and present a united front. Our kids learned a long time ago not to go to the other parent saying that he/she said it was okay.” 

—David and Cindy Paul, married 22 years, Las Vegas, NV

4) FIND A WAY TO SPLIT CHORES

“How to share the household work is a hot button issue for many couples. We decided to figure out the day-to-day tasks the other absolutely hates to do and then swap them. If your spouse does the chore that makes you a complete pile of misery, you’ll appreciate it (and him!) even more.”

—Angie and Eric Whitehead, married 21 years, Baltimore, MD

5) DON’T LET THE LITTLE THINGS OBSCURE THE BIG PICTURE

“I never let my husband leave the house without a kiss and an ‘I love you.’ Life has no guarantees and he might not come home again. This also puts lots of little annoyances in perspective. For instance, when his snoring bugs me, I remind myself that it means he’s alive, he’s home, and he’s with me.” 

—Dave and Lisa Gunn, married 31 years, Westminster, CO

6) DON’T ASK WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? 

“It’s a given that you should always look for ways to serve one another, but the trick is to do it without any expectations. We do it because we love each other, not because we expect something in return.”

—Jason and Myndie Krause, married 12 years, Tallahassee, FL

7) MAKE TIME FOR ROMANCE DAILY

“Don’t stop doing the little things you did together when you first started dating. We loved dancing and now we still make time to dance together, even if it’s just in the kitchen while we’re making dinner. It doesn’t hurt we live in wine country!”

—Lynda and Jeremy Benson, married 22 years, Sonoma, CA

8) HAVE RULES FOR FIGHTING

“Everyone disagrees sometimes but no matter how heated things get, we never ever call each other names. It keeps a basic level of respect present.”

—Leah and Carson Kinney, married 15 years, Apple Valley, MN

9) HOLD HANDS 

“Take every opportunity to touch each other, hold hands, snuggle, and get physical. It helps keep you bonded and you’ll feel better, thanks to the oxytocin rush!”

—Josh and Kerri Saterfield, married 14 years, Horseshoe Bend, ID

10) KNOW WHEN TO STOP PUSHING

“A key to our marriage has been learning when to back off and give the other one some space. During an argument, you eventually reach a point where the best thing is just to walk away and cool off. If you keep pushing, it leads to an explosion.”

—Colby and Kristen Morgan, married 21 years, Atoka, OK

11) MAKE DATE NIGHT SACRED 

“Since our children were infants, our family has watched the kids so we could have date night every Friday night. Everyone, even our friends, know date night is Friday and that date night cannot be disturbed. This gives us a chance to reset whatever madness happened during the week (and there is always plenty!). This has become the glue that keeps us together.”

—Christie and Evan O’Sullivan, married 13 years, Safety Harbor, Florida

12) STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF

“When you first get married, it’s easy to start thinking of yourself as simply one half of a couple. But it’s important to remain an individual as much as you are a sum of the equation. After all, that’s what attracted your spouse to you to begin with!”

—Julie and JP Foreman, married 22 years, Minneapolis, MN

13) CHEER THEM ON

“Be one another’s best and biggest cheerleader in whatever you are doing. And never say unkind things about him behind his back.” Jenny and Tyler Ford, married 22 years, Salt Lake, UT

14) RECOGNIZE THE REAL PROBLEM (IT’S NOT YOUR SPOUSE)

“Stress is often the source of contention, and it’s easy to blame your spouse or something they did. Instead, recognize what’s really bothering you and try not to take it out on them.” —Bill and Gina Nelson, married 32 years, Lakeville, MN

15) ALWAYS REMEMBER, YOU’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

“We are a team. We look at each other as a team. I never think he’s against me, even when he’s arguing with me. I know his heart. I know he supports me.” —Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, married 6 years

16) FORGET OUTDATED GENDER ROLES

“Dudes: It’s not ‘babysitting’ if it’s your own kids. If you love them and you helped make them, then you help take care of them. It’s your job, too.”

—Joe and Anna Raway, married 17 years, Lakeville, MN

17) BELIEVE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

“Believe that you have an amazing marriage. Tell yourself that. Then use that feeling to cultivate appreciation, respect, and emotional autonomy while weeding out disdain and contempt. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will have an amazing marriage.”

—Karen and Tim Anderson, married 22 years, New London, CT

18) BE BFF’S

“We are each other’s best friend. This means we love to do things together and talk to each other. We tell things to each other we’d never tell anyone else. We trust each other with everything and have a sense of humor. We have common likes and are open to trying new things. It really comes down to knowing that no matter what, he has my back and I have his.”

—Alicia and Juan Orozco, married 12 years, Lynwood, CA

19) EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE 

“Don’t assume they know that you appreciate what they do. Say thank you for the little things. It makes you feel appreciated daily.”

—Tamara and Bernie Grand, married 22 years, British Columbia, Canada

20) GET PROFESSIONAL HELP WHEN NEEDED 

“There is absolutely no shame in getting marriage counseling. Even if you’re not on the edge a good counselor can help improve your marriage in so many ways.”

—Mary and Jeff Rogers, married 17 years, Columbus, OH

21) JUST SAY NO

“Don’t agree to do things you truly do not want to do just because your spouse wants you to. Bit by bit, resentment can build when you continually compromise your own joy. Instead, seek opportunities that you can both enjoy together and be comfortable enjoying activities alone when your partner doesn’t feel the same way about them. It’s absolutely okay to compromise occasionally but doing it as a rule can erode the relationship.”

—Rob and Sarah Briggs, married 18 years, Murrieta, CA

22) HAVE A PLAN

“It’s important to have mutual goals and make a plan to reach them, together.”

—Dawn and Matt Lunde, married 25 years, Lakeville, MN

23) SHOW R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“Just respect each other. It really is that simple.”

—Darcy and Duane Fridley, married 27 years, Fridley, MN

24) GO TO BED TOGETHER

“We go to bed at the same time most nights. It gives us the chance to recap the day, cuddle, and share stories.”

—Rebecca and Dan Gierok, married 16 years, Apple Valley, MN

25) SUPPORT EACH OTHER’S EBBS AND FLOWS

“A big key is giving each other the room to grow and change the rules. It’s hard, but Kev was always like, ‘Whatever you need, honey,’ and I admire him for that.”

Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, married 31 years

26) FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE

“Appreciate your spouse for who they are and don’t dwell on things that you don’t care for. Never speak poorly about them to your friends or family. Don’t expect them to change; if you don’t like something, look within your own heart and ask what you can do. Finally, ask yourself daily, ‘How can I make my man/women feel uplifted?’ It’s important to be positive because what you give out comes right back to you.”

—Rob and Lisa McClellan, married 14 years, Simi Valley, CA

27) BE FINANCIALLY UNITED

“Decide what dollar amount constitutes a ‘large’ purchase and then always consult with the other before making large-purchase decisions.”

—Jane and Nathan Marie, married 27 years, Marysville, WA

28) DON’T BE PETTY

“We have a rule that we’re not allowed to ever say ‘I told you so.’ Sometimes it is so hard to bite your tongue, but it is so worth it.”

—Carrie and Grant Speed, married 24 years, Denver, CO

29) KEEP AN OPEN DIALOG

“Number one, never stop talking. Problems arise when people stop talking to each other. Laugh a lot, we crack each other up constantly! I do the best I can and I feel like that’s the way most people are. We do the best we can until we know how to do better.”

Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathe, married 12 years

30) ACT DON’T REACT

“No matter how good it will feel in the moment, never do anything out of spite or to get back at the other person. It will only backfire and make things worse.”

—Ruanne and Rob Crumpley, married 42 years, Westminster, CO

No matter how long you’ve been together, it’s important to put effort into keeping the relationship top of mind. We hope some of these marriage tips are helpful. Some seem so obvious, but it’s easy to get into a rut and forget the simple things. Remember to respect each other, show your love and support, make time for yourself, and always communicate. To check out all 45 couples’ advice, check out the original post by clicking here.