A University of Michigan psychologist collected data from hundreds of couples and found that most divorced people shared the same five regrets about their marriages.
• Show your partner you love and care for them in any way you can. Small gestures like complimenting your partner, saying “I love you” or holding hands go a long way. The most important ways to display affection are showing love, showing support, making your partner feel good about themselves and keeping things interesting in the relationship.
• Money matters, discuss it. Money is the number-one source of conflict in most marriages.
• Leave the past behind you. To engage in a healthy way with your partner, you need to let go of the past. This includes getting over jealousy of your partner’s past relationships, irritation at how your mother-in-law treats you, something from your own childhood that makes it hard for you to trust, a spat you had with your spouse six months ago.
• Don’t play the blame game. Ask your partner for their view of a problem. By getting your partner’s perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective.
• Communication is key. Forty-one percent of respondents cited communication as the number-one factor they would change in their next relationship. Practice “active listening”, where you try to hear what the other person is saying, repeating back what you just heard and asking if you understand correctly. Partners also need to reveal more about themselves in order to maintain communication.