Marriage starts off blissfully but it can be quite a roller coaster ride. That’s why a little guidance from an experienced professional can put things into context, providing you hope, encouragement, and tools for the journey ahead. Here are 5 pieces of advice that can help you strengthen your marriage.

1. Romance doesn’t last forever. It's a common fallacy that something must be wrong with your marriage if the romance isn't lasting forever. While romance is normal in the beginning of a relationship, those feelings of bliss don’t last. The neurochemicals that flood your brain when you fall in love are there to bond you to your spouse, but once their job is done and you’re committed to each other, they subside and “reality” sinks in. If you’re not on cloud nine anymore, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that you made a mistake. It means the honeymoon is over and now comes time to build an enduring marriage.

2. Conflict is normal. Power struggles exist to some degree in every relationship. This is the period where couples come to terms with the fact that their partner is not their carbon copy. He/she thinks differently, has different opinions, and preferences and this may create friction. This is to be expected. Conflict is not only normal, it is an opportunity for growth and healing. Examine your core conflict in your relationship. Is it merely coincidence or is it a familiar theme for you in your life? More likely than not, the tension you experience is touching your own raw spots. If you can work through it, you can galvanize the conflict as an opportunity to work on your own shortcomings.

3. Take responsibility. When you’re hurting, it’s tempting to point the finger at your spouse for pushing your buttons. If he/she would only change, everything would be fine. A key lesson in any relationship is to take responsibility for your role. You can’t change someone else, but you can change the way you act. This may mean learning how to respond differently so as not to exacerbate the situation or even to take ownership for what you are doing that may be triggering your spouse’s undesirable behavior. When you take responsibility, you become proactive and let go of the negativity and resentment that comes along with blaming your partner.

4. Little things can help you stay connected. It’s the little things in a relationship that make all the difference. While some may feel the need to take their spouse on an elaborate vacation or create and ingenious surprise, what matters more is the little things you do on a consistent basis. It could be a kind word, an appreciation, a hug, or an act of service. These daily points of connection provide a steady baseline for your marriage and create steady deposits into your relationship bank account.

5. Your spouse speaks a different love language. Many couples feel frustrated that no matter how much they give to their spouse, their partner does not feel loved. Resentment brews and resignation sets in. When you discover that you and your partner speak two different languages, you’ll realize why your efforts didn’t hit the spot. Learn about your partner’s love language and begin to him/her what he/she actually wants. Hint, whatever kindness they do for you is probably what they wish for in return. As you love your spouse in his/her language, you’ll love will be received, you’ll be appreciated, and resentment will go out the window.

Understanding these five pieces of advice will help give your relationship a reality check, provide you with more peace of mind, and inspire you to keep on growing together to create a long lasting, fulfilling marriage.

To get a copy of Rabbi Slatkin's New 60 Second Plan to a Happy and Healthy Marriage, click here: https://www.totalmarriagetransformation.com/60-seconds-to-a-happy-marriage