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Men's Health

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Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Not your parents’ relationship: The keys to a good marriage are different now

Marriage and tradition ― They belong together continued...

"After a divorce, lots of couples and kids complain about the loss of traditions," says Nock. "What are we supposed to do on Easter or Passover?" The fact is, we need traditions ― starting with marriage itself.

"People don't think it matters when you stand up and make these public vows," says Nock. "My students don't get it. It may seem like flimsy glue, but it's better than never making those statements ― those pledges of fidelity, of help, and support."

Scenes from a happy marriage: Dating

There are plenty of reasons why you should stay married. You will live longer, earn more, and be a more social and altruistic member of society than your single counterpart. The question remains, in the hassle-free no-fault divorce world, how do you stay married ― happily, that is? Terry Real, a Boston-based marriage and family therapist and author of The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work, suggests you try dating your wife.

"It's good for your children to see you go off for the weekend and leave them at home," says Real. "It's good for them to see you going off on Friday night because it's date night, even if it's just jeans and a pizza and a movie. It's a tremendous inoculation against marriage failure down the pike to put a little time and energy into marriage all the way through."

A happy marriage requires more maintenance than your car

Many men, Real tells WebMD, try to fix their marriage after it is broken, after their wives have turned off or they've lost the incentive. "What I tell guys is, 'If you don't put oil in your engine, it freezes.' Guys will put more energy into maintaining their car than they will into maintaining their marriage, and if you don't maintain something, it breaks."

Among his tips for a happy marriage is to let your wife kvetch. "A lot of guys don't want to go out alone with their wives because they know when the wives are alone with them, they're going to complain." Don't fight that, he says. "Take your woman out and cut her some slack. Don't insist that everything go your way." Listen, nod, agree now and then ― but within limits.

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