Couples radiate happiness on their wedding day, but unfortunately not all relationships will continue happily ever after.

Couples radiate happiness on their wedding day, but unfortunately not all relationships will continue happily ever after.
Couples are often on their best behavior while dating, but the realities of day-to-day life begin to get real soon after marriage. Household duties, money management, stress of work, and personal interests all may add pressures that can lead to friction in a marriage.
Even the happiest, well-matched couples will face stressful and sometimes disappointing times during the course of their marriage. A healthy marriage doesn't just happen. It takes time, effort and commitment.
Those couples who were able to continue with a strong and healthy marriage despite hard times have had to work at it. They value their relationship, respect their partner, and are willing to give and take to make the relationship work.
K-State Research and Extension family systems specialist, Charlotte Olsen, offers several tips for couples who wish to increase their chances for a happy, healthy marriage.
• Communicate with each other. Ask your spouse about how their day went. Be genuinely interested in how things are going for them. Do not lose sight of the special person with whom you have chosen to share your life with.
• Practice listening skills, and try to listen without being judgmental. Each of you are coming from different backgrounds and past experiences will influence how one thinks and reacts. Be willing to listen and discuss differences in opinions.
• Focus on positives, rather than negatives. Take responsibility for your own actions and don't be quick to blame the other person.
• Be respectful even in times of conflict. That means no hostile shouting, name-calling, or disrespectful body language. You may need to take time out and revisit the topic when both of you have had time to calm down.
• Life happens and each of you will face difficult times, such as loss of a parent, difficulty at work or other unexpected life events. Being supporting during these times of need can strengthen the relationship.
• Set aside time for each other. Establish daily rituals, like taking time for coffee in the morning, or an evening walk together. In your busy lives, don't forget to make time for the relationship. Never part without a hug or kiss as you head out the door to start your day.
• Also, allow time for individual interests as well. Marriage should not require you to set aside other friendships and interests. A balance of time for each other and time for self will lead to personal satisfaction. Take care of yourself by striving to be physically, mentally, and spiritually fit.
• Establish some new relationships as a couple. Seek out other couples and groups whom you can join with similar interests.
For more information on couple relations, you may contact our Crawford County Extension Office at 620-724- 8233 to receive a copy of the K-State Research & Extension self-study publication, "Couple Talk" MF-2297. Or contact me to receive a registration form for the 2nd annual Kansas Healthy Marriage Institute.

Kansas Healthy Marriage Institute
The second annual Kansas Healthy Marriage Institute will be held on Friday, September 25th in Lawrence. If you are married, considering marriage, or if you work with families, this program opportunity is designed for you!
Keynote speaker will be Kay Reed, Executive Director of the Dibble Institute. Participants can choose from twelve workshop sessions throughout the day. Marriage and money, marriage in a step family, the ebbs and tides of marriage, teen relationships, cultural values and relationships are just a few of the many topics covered by guest presenters.
Registration for this workshop is $75.00  for individuals or $90.00 per couple and must be made by September 18th. Lunch is included in this registration fee. Registrations can be made through conference chair, Bethany Roberts, bethroberts@sunflower.com.