I met an old friend for dinner the other night who shared with me that most of her friends, in their early 40’s, were getting divorced. She also confessed that even she had been on the brink of divorce at least 10 times this year, mainly because of money issues. Ah, I shrugged it off. “That’s normal!” I told her.

I was mainly trying to make her feel better, of course. But we all know that marriage can be challenging and sometimes when couples fight, in that moment, it can feel like your relationship is about to fall apart.

Usually if we stick it out, when the dust settles and someone apologizes, which is hardly ever me because I’m terrible at admitting I’m wrong!, we bounce back. And most of the time, our relationship gets even stronger after our flair ups. It’s the challenges that make our relationships grow, not the easy, peezy, sitting on a beach drinking daiquiris times! Who is with me here? There is so much relationship advice out there, but I have found that these tips really work for me:

Accept Their Faults
It’s easy to find something wrong with your partner and point fingers. You spend most your time together, you’re bound to get on each other nerves. But the truth is, nobody is perfect. Their “faults” are actually probably what you need in your life and you just don’t know it. Instead of taking out that little pointer finger and pointing it forward, turn it right back around at yourself. Accept who they are, even if some of their traits get under your skin, and instead ask yourself, “What is about me that can’t handle them?” Instead, use this time as opportunity to examine yourself. Fix yourself, not your partner. Actually, you can’t really fix yourself either. Accept yourself, instead. O.K, there are like 10 tips in here combined into one!

Say it With Love
No one responds well to anger, blame, put downs or attitude. If you have any issues with your partner and feel the need to share, do it with love. Speak in a loving tone and feel the warmth emanating from your heart before you open your mouth. Come on people, this isn’t that hard! There is no way your partner can get mad at you if you’re being loving. In fact, he or she might do exactly what you want and then get you that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting at the same time! Love is the answer, always, when speaking your mind.

Have Sex
With a young child in the home, there’s never enough time or energy to get it on. I can only imagine what my friends do who co-sleep! Actually, I’m sure the shower works well. Either way, you cannot let sex be last on your list. If you’re not getting it regularly, you’re going to get cranky with each other, and that’s just a non-scientific fact that I made up. I’m sure there are many Peggy Bundy’s out there who can make it happen every night, but I would say once a week is a great goal. O.K., once every two weeks if you’re really exhausted. But don’t go longer than that! Do it when you’re the least stressed and not-in-your head. Sometimes that’s in the middle of the night, when you’re dead asleep, but find yourselves awake at around 3am. Watch out!

Make Time for Each Other
Of course you might want to get yourself in the mood first by going on a romantic date night out. So many couples don’t schedule enough date nights, as I slowly raise my hand. We get caught up in our kid’s lives and needs and forget about our first love, our partners. Before you schedule your kids playdates, classes and pre-school, schedule some alone time with your mate. That might mean a night out, but it can also be as basic as lunch together when your kid naps. If your kid doesn’t nap anymore, I feel for you!

Marriage isn’t easy for many, but it’s also the most rewarding and comforting experience you’ll ever have in your lifetime. Look back to when you were single, and then back to where you are now. Who wants to go back to that?! Don’t answer if you do. My husband’s grandmother who was 93, and was married since she was 16-years-old told us she wanted to get a divorce a month before she died. We all go through challenges, just don’t give up. Enjoy this journey, the ups and the downs, the circles and the straight, together. The challenges marriage bring are an opportunity to get deeper with yourself and each other. Now go get some nookie!