I don't claim to be a relationship expert and I don't think there is a perfect marriage. Although, I do have a good marriage and we are happy after more than a decade. It hasn't all been easy and there have definitely been some downs but we got through those times and are making it work. Here are the secrets and tips I've learned to have a successful marriage.

1. Keep your relationship offline

Too often I see people venting and talking badly about their spouse on Facebook. This is a recipe for disaster and it breaks down your relationship. I try to never mention Blake, my husband, on Facebook except an occasional photo. I also only write about him in a positive light on my blog. Not that we don't have our problems and of course, he drives me crazy sometimes. I just think it hurts our marriage to talk badly about him in public, especially online where anyone can see it.

2. Tell each other the truth

I believe that little lies lead to bigger lies and on and on. In our marriage, we tell the truth. Even if it's as simple as buying something and letting the other person know that we did. If I think that there is anything that he would want to know, I tell him. So far, in almost 11 years of marriage and 16 years together, there has never been an issue of dishonesty. I've never found him lying and he's never found me in a lie. I think that knowing we can trust each other is keeping our marriage strong.

3. Help each other

You have to be there for each other. It's not always easy and sometimes you won't feel like it but when I really need him, my husband is there. When he really needs me, I'm there to help him.

4. Spend time together

My husband and I try to spend as much time together as possible. We also try to go to movies and out to eat as much as possible. I think that it strengthens our marriage and makes us a better couple the more time we get to be together.

5. Remember you are a couple too

It can be so easy to forget about your roles as husband and wife. Sometimes you get so busy with jobs and being mom and dad that you forget that you need to focus on your relationship. It's important to make time for your marriage and focus on that for awhile instead of all the other things.

6. Laugh together

I think more often than not a good marriage is one that has laughter. So laugh together, find time for silly movies and being silly together. It's harder to fight and be unhappy with each other if you make time for laughing.

7. Your families are your responsibility

Both of you come into the marriage with families of your own. Hopefully, you get along with your spouse's family and you don't have in-law problems. Problems with in-laws is one of the most common marital issues. One way to make it better is you are each responsible for your own families. If your mom has a problem with him then you deal with it and if his sister has a problem with you, then he handles it. You shouldn't have to be put in a position to deal with new family who you don't know as well as your own family.

8. Be respectful

Having respect and giving respect to your spouse are such basic steps to having a successful marriage. If you don't feel respected then you probably aren't going to feel very loved by your spouse either. If they don't respect you, how can they love you? If you don't respect them, then how will they know you love them? Also why would you want to be with someone who you don't respect or that doesn't show you respect? There might be times or days where you aren't as respectful as you should be, but overall, you should respect each other.

9. Stick it out

There are going to be hard times in your life and hard times in your marriage, that is pretty much guaranteed. It's important to remember that these times pass and that things will get better with time. So stick it out and fight through these hard times. They might surprise you. Those hard times might end up teaching you things you need to know. Also, sticking through these times together will make you both stronger.

If you are married, then you know it's a lot of work. But in the end, a happy marriage is worth the effort.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Karissa Ancell's blog, A Fresh Start. It has been modified and republished here with permission.

All Family. All The Time

Trustworthy relationship and parenting advice exactly when you need it.

From time to time you will also receive special offers from our partners that help us make this content free for you.