couple fighting

Sometimes, when a man gets a divorce, he either shuts down and doesn't want to talk about it, or he only focuses on what he thinks his ex-wife did wrong in the marriage. But sometimes, he opens up. One man recently took a hard look at himself, and how he would have behaved differently in his marriage. Though his loss is hard, he is now able to give other married couples marriage tips to keep in mind. From a man who has been there before, here are 20 pieces of marriage advice he wished he could have had.

1. Don't be lazy

When we are first dating and everything is exciting, we are trying our hardest and making our best effort into the relationship. We want to put our best foot forward and help the other person like us more. Once we are married, sometimes that magic falls flat and we quit trying. We figure, "I've already won my spouse!" But the truth is, you need to work just as hard. Keep doing sweet things, keep going on dates, and keep cherishing each other. Always.

2. Make her laugh

Life gets serious. Sometimes, we get stuck in our own heads. What's the fun in that? Be silly and make her laugh. Watch a funny movie. Take goofy pictures of each other. A good laugh will release stress and make you feel connected.

3. Never take her for granted

She picks up your socks, cooks your food, and cleans your clothes. It's a pretty thankless job, and over the years you may start taking it for granted. Think about the time and care she puts into doing things for you on a daily basis, and show your appreciation.

4. Pay attention

Life gets busy and sometimes we get too focused on our own issues. Make sure to pay attention to your spouse. Is she happy or sad? Is something bothering her? Did she accomplish something? Is she having a hard time with something? Pay attention to the little things, then talk to your spouse about what you notice.

5. Keep the love alive

Just because you're married doesn't mean you have to stop being sweet to each other. Usually keeping the love alive starts with one person and the other person follows. Keep the love alive by being affectionate—holding hands, kissing, hugging, and cuddling. Also do things without asking—especially those chores she hates the most. Get her flowers just because. Send her love texts throughout the day.

6. Put away your distractions

Sometimes you just want to zone out and watch TV, or play on your computer or video game consoles. There is a time for those, but keep them in check. As much as possible, put away your distractions. Put away your laptop at dinner. Silence your phone when you're out to dinner. This will help you keep your focus on her.

7. Focus on the positive

We all have faults, and sometimes those are the easiest things to notice and focus on. Make a conscious choice to focus on the positive. What are some of her best qualities? Keep those in mind especially when negative thoughts creep in.

8. Be a giving lover

You know what things you like during sex, but you do know all the things that she likes? Be a giving lover by letting her positive reactions be your guide. Put her first in the bedroom without worrying about what you are going to get out of it.

9. Love unconditionally

It's easy to love someone when they are loving to you. But what if your spouse ever acts unloving? Love is a choice, and not always an easy one. As a married couple you should love each other unconditionally. Sometimes she will be harder to love, but those are the times when unconditional love is needed the most.

10. Encourage girl time

Even if your relationship together is great, she needs some girl time. Girls connect in ways that men don’t understand, and that’s okay. Girl time is very fulfilling to her. Encourage her to join a book club, or go out regularly with good girl friends who share her values.

11. Forgive and forget

There will be mistakes. There will be times when she wrongs you. It will happen. You are not her judge, you are her husband. It’s time to forgive and forget. The quicker you can let go, the quicker you can both move on and be happier together.

12. Do your part

It takes two people for a marriage to work. You each need to give it your all. Step it up! If you need to, take a couple inventory and talk about how you can each contribute more to the relationship.

13. Open up to her

When you have a bad day at work, talk to her about it. When something is bothering you, don't feel like you have to protect her from it. Share it. She will appreciate that you trusted her enough to open up about it.

14. Keep your emotions in check

Anger can be a dangerous thing. It's okay to feel anger, but it's not okay to use your anger to hurt others—especially in your marriage. Keep your emotions in check by being open and honest in a calm and rational way. Make yourself heard so you can alleviate your anger and come to a resolution.

15. No secrets

If there is one thing that breaks up marriages, it's secrets. Remember that you are in this together. It's important to share things, especially those things that will affect both of you.

16. Listen, and don't give advice

When she comes to you upset or frustrated, sometimes she just wants you to listen. Being able to come to you and know that you care enough to hear what she is saying is a huge comfort to her. Unless she asks for advice, don't give it. Just hug her, tell her you trust her judgment, and always be a listening ear.

17. Do something you both like

Grow together in your marriage but finding something you both like to do together, and then share that thing. Perhaps it's playing tennis, going on walks, watching musicals, or playing pool. Whatever it is, do it regularly as a couple.

18. Get on the same page about money

Let's face it—money is a big factor in divorce. No matter how much you make, get on the same page about it. Share the responsibilities of tracking everything, paying bills, and making the decisions. Talk about spending and set limits. Be open about money and revisit the topic often.

19. Fight naked

You could most definitely literally fight naked. But this is more of a figurative approach. What it really means is to focus on what is important. Laugh instead of fight. Make love instead of ignore each other. Give instead of take. Be grateful instead of envious.

20. Remember why you're together

When she's crabby in the morning or is upset with you about something, stop and remember why you fell in love in the first place. That feeling doesn't have to die. Instead of fueling more contention, be more loving and just let it go.

Remember—if you don't take care of her heart, she may just give it to someone else, or perhaps seal you out. You may never be able to get it back. Cherish her and your union. Never take it for granted. Do something every day to enhance your marriage.

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