There comes a time in every marriage when one or both partners feel like they’ve hit a roadblock and don’t know how to get around it. Whether you and your spouse are facing a small bump in the road or a big one, it’s not too late to get back on track. Consider these nine steps to start healing your relationship and building a healthier, happier marriage.

1. Keep it real

Relationships are of course never as perfect as a Hollywood movie or your favorite pop song. After the honeymoon is over, couples have to face the day-to-day grind. Keep your expectations realistic, accept your partner for himself or herself, and take life’s inevitable changes as they come.

2. Don’t stop dating

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially after you have kids. Take time to escape the routine and go on a date with your spouse. Once a week (or at least on a regular basis), you should arrange for a sitter, make a reservation at your favorite restaurant, and have a great night out on the town.

3. Be friends

Friendship and communication are key to a solid marriage. It is important to talk with each other and be each other’s best friend. This type of closeness allows you to build a solid foundation in your relationship and weather the inevitable storms.

4. Let go of the past

Many people find it difficult to trust. Past hurts and disappointments may have left scars. Don’t let old wounds get in the way of your current partnership. When issues arise, be willing to work through them and forgive.

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