Contributed by Anna A.

I have been married for over 40 years and am often asked, “How do you make it work?”  Here are some of my top tips for having a happy relationship.

  • Don’t look to change your partner, change yourself.  I am sure you have a neat little list of bad habits your partner has or what you wish they would do. When I was upset about my husband’s lack of help in the kitchen, I asked him if I could show him how to chop vegetables.  Now he is my sous chef.
  • Let go.  Is it necessary to be right all the time? Is that what matters to you?  If you hurt their feelings, why do you have to prove you are right about what you said? Why not just say you are sorry you hurt their feelings and say that you love them.
  • Stop nagging. We used to fight over money, as most couples do; but instead of yelling at him for overspending, I brought it up gently, “Remember when we were discussing budgeting? What ways have you thought of to cut spending?” Sure enough, he said he would return the purchase he had just made.
  • Ignore the small stuff. You like almond milk, they like soy. You like to have the toilet paper roll one way and they put it the other way.   Stop the madness. Are you going to yell at your partner because they put the toilet paper in the wrong way? Do you think they did it on purpose because they don’t love you? I found that after I asked myself that question, I stopped being mad.
  • Say it’s not their fault. If you want to have a conversation and not a fight, start your conversation by stating the situation is not their fault but you want to work on a solution. You’ll be surprised how quickly their ears will perk up and the mouth will stop shouting.

What are your secrets to a happy relationship?