"Happily ever after" can be achieved in real life just as it does in fairy tales. Although, it isn't something that is reached from one minute to the next. It comes from numerous small actions and decisions rightly made.

We don't have to wait until the end of the story for happiness to be realized. On the contrary, we must seek it out daily. Wise attitudes will contribute to happiness for both partners, and a good dose of sensitivity allows us to find it in the most simple of things.

Check out these 15 secrets to make you both happy.

1. Don't put off happiness

Some people expect marital happiness to occur when they buy a house, when they have their first car, when they find a better job, or when they get their college degree. Be happy now with what you have.

2. Be grateful and show it to your spouse

Gratitude is directly related to happiness. Recognize, in even the smallest things, reasons to be grateful. Show the gratitude you feel. That little magic word that we learned in childhood should be used abundantly in marriage. Say things like, "Thank you for everything you do for me." Or, "Thank you for being so nice." And, "Thank you for the delicious dinner." Look for reasons to thank your spouse, and you will find them.

3. Trust and be trustworthy

A marriage tormented with jealousy does not last. Trust your spouse, and give them reason to trust you.

4. Avoid arguments

Arguments are the biggest pitfalls in marriage. Instead of becoming offended in a conversation, take some time for things to cool down. Take a walk, a shower or take a little rest. When emotions have calmed, talk things over in a civilized manner.

5. Show your love physically

Touching, caressing, kissing, holding hands and hugging are all essential acts that keep the flame of love burning bright. Healthy sexual relations within marriage are very important, but they should not be the only focus. Abuse of any kind, in turn, is never acceptable. It destroys romantic love and ruins the natural beauty of sexual intimacy in marriage.

6. Be honest in your finances

Marital happiness cannot exist with miscommunications, especially when the topic is money.

7. Surprise your spouse

Do something unexpected. A note in a shirt pocket, a flower when he or she returns home, a little gift, a surprise romantic dinner, a message of love on the phone, a walk, etc.

8. Compliment one another

Give sincere compliments to the person you love. Talk about his or her smile, eyes, hair, character, voice, posture, how he or she acts, the professional or mother or father he or she is. Overall, let you spouse know just how much you admire him or her.

9. Be supportive

Support your spouse in a personal or professional project, or in a moment sickness, sadness or weakness. Help him or her overcome difficulties. "Marriage is like a long journey in a tiny rowboat: if one passenger starts to rock the boat, the other will have to stabilize it: otherwise, they both will sink together." -David Rueben

10. Walk in the same direction

Marital happiness is only possible if both have a vision of life, similar values and interests, a similar way of behavior and common objectives, whether they be temporal or eternal.

11. Be the same person you were while dating

At the beginning of a courtship, it's common to be surprising, attractive, do a thousand things to please your partner, and just show your best side. After some time of being together, it's easier to get a better idea of who the person is, observe shortcomings, and see how they behave in different situations.

It's only natural for a mature courtship to evolve into an engagement and wedding. Some people think that, since they are already married, they can stop trying as hard, whether it be in appearance or in their attitude. They quit courting, go on few dates, and stop getting all cleaned up and smelling good. Suddenly, they feel entitled to act rudely and become grumpy most of the time.

Obviously, that slender little body you enjoyed while single will be left behind as times goes on. There's no real way to beat our metabolism and the law of gravity. However, much can still be done to maintain yourself physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. "Good marriage is an eternal engagement." -Theodor Körner

12. Talk with each other

Talking is the key to solving problems.

13. Be selfless

Concern for the well-being of your partner is one of the most important attitudes in achieving marital happiness. Forget about "me." Leave selfishness aside and seek to meet the needs of your partner above your own.

14. Be faithful in your thoughts, words and actions

Happiness is a very serious topic. We see so many marriages ruined because the man or woman looks around, sees someone very attractive, wasn't able (because they didn't try hard enough) to get that person out of their mind, and ended up making a huge mistake. "In adultery, there are at least three people who are fooled." -Carlos Drummond de Andrade

At the first sign of a red flag, flee the temptation.

15. Ask for forgiveness and forgive

We are imperfect beings and sometimes we put our foot in our mouth. Whenever this happens, don't waste anytime in asking a sincere apology. And whenever your spouse hurts your feelings, promptly forgive them. Giving and receiving forgiveness are essential for a full life for both of you.

In short, the secret to a happy marriage is to do good, and be wise about how you act, speak, and think. Treat your spouse as you would like to be treated. Whenever you are curious about the impact a word or decision has on your marriage, put yourself in your spouse's shoes. You will know what to do.

Translated and adapted by Vaughn Christensen from the article "15 segredos para um casamento feliz" by Erika Strassburger Borba.

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