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5 Steps to a Healthy, Lasting Marriage

Can you build a happy, lasting marriage by the numbers? Research suggests these five strategies will boost your chances.

1. Create Rituals
Married couples who celebrated religious holiday traditions together were happier in their unions, a 2001 study reported. Researchers found that the shared emotional investment in the ritual made the couples feel a closer bond.

2. Be a Daredevil
In a study of more than 100 American couples, those who reported "being in a rut" during their seventh year of marriage also showed low satisfaction in year 16. Those who were not bored in year seven were still going strong nine years later. Researchers said the couples who pursued exciting activities together (safari? skiing?) were more satisfied overall.

3. Sleep (Well) Together
Men who slept better at night were more likely to feel positive about their relationship the following day, according to a University of Arizona study. And couples who reported the highest quality and hours of sleep per night also had the happiest unions.

4. Support Each Other
In a Northwestern University study, those who believed that their partners encouraged their "ideal achievements" reported higher marital satisfaction -- and it wasn't just about helping him become a rock star or her become a top doctor. When a spouse felt supported even in daily obligations, he or she was significantly happier in marriage.

5. Build Your Career
Couples in dual-career marriages who enjoyed their working lifestyles were happier in their marriages, even if they had to work long hours, according to Ball State University data.

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