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Go Retro: 12 Tips for a Happy Marriage

Tried-and-true strategies you can borrow from your parents' marriage to enhance your own.

Retro Relationship Tip No. 6: Don't Go to Bed Angry

Jackie Gleason may have wanted to "send Alice to the moon," but the Honeymooners settled their quarrels before turning in for the night.

The long-married Leeds are proponents of this wisdom. Even if you can't resolve a disagreement before you hit the sheets, you can agree to let the anger go for the night. Remind each other how lucky you are -- even as you disagree -- to have each other to disagree with.

"From the very beginning we decided that we didn't want to go to bed angry," Gerard Leeds writes. "And we seldom go to sleep without kissing each other good night."

Retro Relationship Tip No. 7: Hit the Dance Floor

Ever notice how blissful couples look as they are twirling across the dance floor, entwined in each other's arms like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers?

There is a language of leading and yielding that dance teaches. Paul Bolotovsky is the owner of the Manhattan-based Nightclub Dance Series, an instructional dance series that teaches men and women how to dance in nightclubs. He says that putting on your dancing shoes can put the sizzle back into a relationship that has fizzled.

"The old days of ballroom dancing and swing have a lot to offer today's couples," he tells WebMD in an email interview. "The touch, teamwork, energy, music, anticipation, and companionship are all wonderful byproducts after a night of dancing." Don't fret if you have two left feet; even "contemporary" dancing" is a way to spend fun time together.

Retro Relationship Tip No. 8: Have Couples Fun

Bridge and pinochle were common activities shared by our parents and their friends. So was cocktail hour and formal anniversary celebrations with like-minded couples.  

Fine says, "Play board games with other couples! It's fun and a great way to be social with others and playful with one another."

Parrott says it is important to identify friends who are healthy additions to your social circle. "Your goal is to become close with other couples with similar standards and interests who have positive attitudes about marriage and family life. Gravitate toward fun couples who make you feel supported and enhance your active, healthy lifestyle. Friends like these are good for your marriage and overall well-being."

Retro Relationship Tip No. 9: Give Compliments

To give a compliment, you've got to pay attention -- really notice something about someone. Remember how Carol and Mike Brady, the happily married matriarch and patriarch of The Brady Bunch, lavished them on each other?

If it's been a while since you've doled out flattering praise, try it.

Tessina notes that it costs nothing to say, "You look good," "You did a great job," or "I like your shirt." Yet compliments can really reassure and pump up your spouse.

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