When I made the life-altering decision to end my marriage, I had no idea what the next 25 years would bring. I thought I had the world by the tail back then, and in some ways I did. In other ways, not so much.

Looking back, there are a few simple rules I've come to realize should never be broken within the bonds of marriage. Follow these rules, and success will be more likely.

1. Always laugh at your husband's jokes

If you find yourself rolling your eyes at your husband's attempt at humor - resist the temptation and, instead, find a chuckle somewhere inside and let him hear it loud and clear. I loved hanging around my parents' best friends. Without exception, when Jack cracked a joke, Beverly chortled until everyone at the table was in stitches. Jack was a very happy man.

2. When you hurt your wife's feelings - bring home a dozen red velvet cupcakes

Flowers are wonderful, cupcakes are better. Know what your wife's favorite treat is, and give it willingly and often. Yes, it's a lot of cupcakes, but she can share them, freeze them, or eat them all at once. It's her choice. One cupcake is awesome, but a dozen will make her heart skip a beat. Believe me, she'll be much more willing to cut you some slack.

3. Hug your spouse for no reason

Children love to be hugged. So do grown-ups. A sincere, close, tight, long hug can solve a lot of problems in a marriage. Hug often and mean it.

4. Come home early on Fridays

I want to know my husband is excited to start the weekend. It's a signal that nothing in the world is more important to him than spending time together. It brings a bit of excitement at the end of a long week.

5. Don't hold back

Be free with kind words, compliments, sincerity, love, emotions and even your wallet. When each gives freely to the other, trust builds and love expands. Never be afraid to share, to talk, to give, or to ask for what you need.

Yes, I've learned a few things along the way, and I will continue to learn more as time passes. But I look forward to the next 25 years now that my experiences have guided me to a much better place.

Follow these simple rules to find more happiness in your marriage and more happiness in your life.

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