Most couples don’t realize how simple it can be to make a good marriage great. Or to infuse a struggling marriage with new life. To make your marriage better, give these three ideas a try.

The first idea is to avoid sarcasm. The word “sarcasm” means “to tear flesh.” Sarcasm strips a joke of its humor and replaces it with anger, resentment, and jealousy. There’s a thorn beneath the laugh that cuts people. Instead of sarcasm, season your words with love and respect.

Idea number two for improving your relationship is to make a daily habit out of gratitude and appreciation. Turn that into a discipline by placing five coins in your pocket. Every time you tell your spouse “thank you” or “I appreciate you” move a coin to the other pocket. Every time you correct, criticize, or complain, move a coin back. Then challenge yourself: How many days in a row can you move all of the coins from one pocket to the other?

The third idea is to control your conflict by scheduling your disagreements. Avoid daily conflict about things that are emotionally distressing by structuring when those conversations take place. Discuss problems on odd days, or even days, or Wednesday nights. The point is to control your conflict instead of allowing your conflict to control your relationship.

Avoid sarcasm. Be grateful. Engage in healthy conflict. Those three small ideas can make a big difference in your marriage.

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