Like any garden, a marriage must be cultivated. It must be regularly tended to and watered when in dry spells. Sometimes, even a dormant marriage that appears destined for Maryland divorce can come out of a dark winter thriving with renewed love and hope for a future. Here are five tools to cultivating a healthy marriage:

1. Communication Cures

So many marriages suffer from miscommunication. Learning how to communicate properly with your spouse is key. Good communication begins with good listening. Listen to what your spouse is saying, pay attention to nonverbal cues, and repeat back the statement in your own words to make sure the message has been clearly understand. Remember that men and women communicate differently, so it’s important that you learn to speak your spouse’s language.

2. Take the Time

Too often couples with adolescent or grown children discover they no longer have anything in common. Why? Often, they spent so much time raising their children that the marriage was left untended. This is why it’s crucial for parents of young children to spend time together to maintain a healthy marriage during these busy years. Go on a lunch date. Stay up late talking. Start a new hobby.

3. Reinvent Romance

Talk to any couple who are happily married for many years and you will find that romance is still alive and well within their relationship. How do they do it? They keep it fresh and exciting. If you’re stuck in a rut, try something different. Relive your first date. Surprise your spouse with a little getaway. Pick up a small treat that you know your loved one enjoys. Whether you’ve been married one month or 10 years, those little gestures go a long way in nurturing romance.

4. Fight Fair

No couple will make it through marriage without fighting. The important part is how you fight. Steer clear of the blame game. Stick to “I” phrases to show how a particular action makes you feel without putting your spouse on the defensive. Allow time to cool off if needed but always come back to the issue. Listen to the other person’s side of the issue.

5. Forgive and Forget

Resentment breeds contempt. Don’t let old issues fester. Deal with the issue and then choose to forgive and move on.

When you’ve done all you can to save your marriage but it’s just not working, it might be time to talk to an experienced Maryland divorce attorney regarding your options. For a no-strings-attached consultation, call Nickelsporn & Lundin at 800-875-9700.