Falling deep in love is one of the most fulfilling feelings you can experience. After the flirty courtship, the romantic date nights, and the commitment to become a couple, marriage is usually a topic of conversation.

For millions of couples each year, they take the plunge and say “I do,” with the whole-hearted goal of being together forever. But let’s face it: marriage is hard work.

Careers, finances, kids, and other outside influences are constantly present, putting stress on a marriage. It’s easy to take those frustrations out on your significant other, even if you don’t mean to. This leads to several issues that can unfortunately hinder the growth of the relationship and even cause a divorce.

So how do you balance life and love?

Here’s seven tips from happily married couples to use as a blueprint:

Communicate Often

The happiest couples seem to have an extraordinary amount of communication throughout the day. They make it a point to share even the most mundane details in order to stay connected. Even if you cannot actually speak throughout the day, try sending texts letting your husband/wife know you are thinking about them or just to blow off steam.

Develop a Financial Plan

Did you know above all else, financial stress is a leading cause of divorce? It’s true. So, sit down with your partner and devise a financial plan you can both agree on and stick to.

Be Mentally Monogamous

Most couples enter a relationship with the agreement to be physically monogamous, but one may stray mentally with fantasies, pornography or becoming emotionally invested in another person. Don’t do that! Dave Willis, pastor and author of the book The Seven Laws of Love, wrote that “Our fantasies will shape our realities,” so keep that in mind when you answer that Facebook message.

Don’t Get Dirty During Disagreements

Arguments happen in every marriage, but the way to a compromised outcome is to have a productive conversation instead of slinging mud and name calling. Remember that the person you are arguing with loves you and you love them deeply; don’t say petty things to hurt each other, nothing will get resolved and you will only damage your relationship.

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