The Single Best Way to Revitalize Your Marriage

Create your own rituals together and feel the romance rise.

The biggest strain on a relationship isn't kid or lack of sex or even the ubiquitous scapegoat called "no communication." It's everything balled up into one problem—lack of time.

The 45-to-54 age group has the country's highest percentage of divorces. To avoid joining their ranks, the best thing you can do in your 40s, if not sooner, is create daily or weekly rituals (independent of kids and other distractions) to ensure that you and your spouse spend some time together and focus on each other, not family logistics, says William Doherty, Ph.D., author of Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart. "Rituals may not be efficient," says Doherty, "but they force you to make a connection."

Consider these two men: Mike R., a writer, went out to breakfast with two or three newspapers every Saturday morning. When he met the woman he eventually married, he invited her along. They've been married 12 years and still go to breakfast.

"Even though we spend a lot of breakfast reading rather than talking, we always share stories out of the paper with each other," he says. "Since we often work weekends, breakfast gives us a definite break in the day—no work or shoptalk allowed."

Keith S. was inches away from divorce. So busy launching his own engineering company, he completely neglected his wife, Anne. Then he heard his minister mention in a sermon how he established a weekly date night to spend more time with his wife. So Keith gave it a shot.

He booked a babysitter for every Wednesday night for an entire year. "It literally saved my marriage," says Keith. Ten years later, with no kids left in the house, he and Anne are still having Wednesday date night. And if you need some great suggestions, here are the 50 Best Bonding Activities for Married Couples. 

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