Valentine's Day is here! Personally, I think it's ironic that Valentine's Day happens in February, the month after the most popular month for divorce - January.

While many of us have love on our minds today, it also makes for a great time to reflect on our relationships/marriages and see how we can improve them.

My wife, Hannah, has a passion for helping couples be the best they can be. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, she works with many couples to help improve their relationship.

Here are 5 tips Hannah has to help your marriage/relationship thrive so you and your partner can hopefully avoid any relationship-ending pitfalls:

Good and Honest Communication

Hannah says: "Take time to actively listen to each other. When your spouse is talking, make sure that you are giving them your undivided attention. Seek a balance of both talking and listening. I recommend having check-in’s at least once a week and using that time to connect with your spouse."

Jacob Ammentorp Lund Thinkstock

Prioritize Your Relationship

Hannah says: "Prioritize dating your spouse. Schedule at least twice a month to date your spouse. I understand how life can get busy. Sometimes you have to get creative with dating such as having a quiet dinner for two after the kids go to bed or planning lunch dates during the week when the kids are at school or with the nanny."

Willingness to Work Through Problems

Hannah says: "All couples have conflict but it’s how you resolve the conflict that is a true testament to the relationship. You have to both be willing to compromise and see what each other is doing wrong for change to take place. Be able to admit mistakes and own up to your part."

Priscilla du Preez via unsplash
Priscilla du Preez via unsplash

Have Fun in Your Relationship/Marriage

Hannah says: "I know that often the responsibilities of your career, kids and other daily tasks can take the fun out of life but you have to remember to keep the playfulness in your relationship and make sure you are having fun. Cook dinner together. Find projects and hobbies you enjoy. Flirt with each other when you pass in the hallway. Don’t forget to have fun!"

Share Goals and Dream Together

Hannah says: "It’s important to have things to look forward to as a couple. Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish together. Where do you want to see your relationship in 5 years? I often recommend at the beginning of each year to sit down with your spouse and create some goals you would like to accomplish and discuss a plan on how you will get there. I often recommend a dream board or jotting down some things on a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be formal but you do have to have a plan to succeed in your marriage."

List of Goals
Getty Images/moodboard RF, ThinkStock Images

Speaking from experience, proper communication is so key! All of these tips involve enacting proper communication - whether verbal or nonverbal - in order to make each other feel heard and validated, wanted and loved.

Isn't that how we all want to make our significant other feel?

Happy Valentine's Day!

10 Great Love Songs By Louisiana Musicians

Louisiana is known around the world for the unique brands of music it's people have created. The Zydeco, Cajun, and swamp pop sounds are indeed one-of-a-kind, but the songwriters in those genres share a common trait with songwriters from the other forms of American music: They use their songs to express their love. So today, we present this compilation of love songs recorded by Louisiana musicians. Whether its Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or any other day, these songs will certainly help you say, "I love you, cher!"

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