Everyone walks down the aisle dreaming of their happily ever after, but maintaining a happy marriage is often easier said than done.
A Reddit thread emerged Wednesday asking couples who have been married 10 or more years to reveal their secrets to wedded bliss -- and who better to dole out advice than those who have experienced it first hand?
We combed through hundreds of their comments to bring you 21 rock-solid pieces of advice. Check them out below:
1. Don't stress over the small stuff.
"Happily married for 25 years here. My tips? Be buddies, don't stress over the little stuff, be positive, cut each other some slack, spend time together even when you can't but don't fight about it, LAUGH, realize how many of the things we get angry about are ridiculous."
2. Marry someone with a good heart.
"We just celebrated our 20th anniversary ... mostly the secret is don't marry an asshole. If a person says rude and mean things to you or to their parents or to waitstaff then the person isn't relationship material. Hold out for someone who is a decent human being and you can't go wrong."
3. Remember it's you and your spouse vs. the world (not each other).
"Married life is simple: You are back to back in the water fighting off sharks for the rest of your lives and you just do what has to be done as it comes and say thanks when your partner knifes one you missed."
4. Communication is key.
"[Married] 20 years ... talk, talk it all out, be open. Are you unhappy about something? Talk about it."
5. Show your love in sweet yet simple ways.
"Married for 21 years ... Bring her flowers, 'just because'. If you're not the spontaneous type of guy (I'm not), then set it up on your phone's calendar -- some random date when you'll bring her two dozen long stem roses. Or some other appropriate gift."
6. Don't fight in public.
"19 years here. No public disagreements. If you have a bone to pick, you do it in private. Publicly, you have each other's backs."
7. Laughter is a magical, secret weapon.
"15 years of happy marriage here. I have found that laughter helps your relationship so much. It helps smooth over arguments and periods of time when you don't like each other. If you can laugh together, can enjoy the same humor, you can get through damn near anything."
8. Outsourcing can work wonders.
"If there's some chore you both hate, and you can afford it, outsource. This can mean buying a dishwasher, or getting a neighbor kid to mow the lawn for a few bucks. Whatever you pay is probably worth avoiding a marriage full of arguments and resentment over who's turn it is to deal with it."
9. Keep having sex.
"Been together 15 years, since I was 19 ... Keep having fun. If it gets boring and stagnant it can create problems. Keep the intimacy alive, don't let romance die! Or sex!!! Otherwise you slide into housemate territory and away from a couple."
10. Pick your battles.
"If it's a small thing, let it goooo. Yes, it's annoying to pick up your goddamned socks off the floor, but I'm not perfect either and the bathroom cabinets are full of junk, which annoys you. Neither of us is going to change at this point, obviously. Live with the flaws. It's not that big of a deal."
11. Go out of your way to make their day.
"Once in a while, do something nice ... An example, my wife loves crab legs, but the only restaurants around who serve it you're looking at $40 just for the plate of crab legs. So if I notice crab legs on sale at the store, I'll sneak by there, grab 3 or 4 pounds and some shrimp and we have a crab boil/shrimp grill as a surprise. It's no big deal but it lets her know I am listening and I want to make her happy."
12. Don't be afraid to work hard.
"30 years together, married for 25 of them. Work to make things better when times do get tough...see a therapist, make time for each other, find a new activity to do together...don't assume things will just get better on their own. A successful marriage involves a certain amount of conscious effort."
13. Listen to your spouse's needs.
"13 years here. No matter how well you know your spouse don't dismiss the need to make it clear when something is really important or serious to you ... Personal priorities evolve over time and both parties can benefit from keeping up with this. I mean, there are big things like sex, careers, and politics, but if I say I want a kitten then I really want a kitten."
14. Learn to enjoy things on your own.
"Have your own interests and let your partner have theirs. Enjoy learning and hearing about their hobbies (and talking about yours) but do not try to force the other person to enjoy/engage in the activity just because you like it."
15. Never stop dating.
"Don't stop dating, take time to go out together at least once a month. Even if it's just a lunch date whilst the kids are in school (we just had one today!). Mix it up once in a while and surprise your spouse."
16. Learn to fight fair.
"Be respectful even when you argue. Especially when you argue. Don't be hurtful just to make points."
17. Always remember that you're on the same team.
"Going on 25 years here. The best advice I have heard is that, during a fight you can either oppose each other, or you can work together to oppose the problem that is separating you. If you always see yourself as a team, it makes a huge difference in how you fight. Establish common goals and strive to attain them together."
18. Sometimes, spouses just need vent. Let them!
"Married almost 15 years. ... If you're a husband, don't feel like you have to fix every problem your wife wants to talk about. Sometimes she just wants to vent or voice her concerns, and only wants you to listen and tell her you understand."
19. Love is about giving, not taking.
"Always remember that love is not give-and-take. It's more of a give-and-dont-expect-anything-in-return set up."
20. Put your spouse first.
"14 years next month. Don't ever, ever cave into your guy friends' pressure to do something you know will irritate your wife just prove you aren't 'whipped'. You live with her, not them. Her opinion should matter more, not theirs."
21. Don't stop saying 'I love you'.
"Say 'I love you' every day. You never know if that morning your spouse could be hit by a car, have a heart attack, or a myriad of things. They're three small words that mean everything to your spouse. Let them know you love them."