The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by marriage psychologist John M. Gottman at the University of Washington
This book is a must-read. According to Gottman, to make marriage function optimally, you should:
(1) Enhance your love maps: knowing all the important information about your partner’s life including his/her internal experiences, best friends, ways of coping, and goals;
(2) Nurture fondness and admiration: appreciating the good characteristics of your partner;
(3) Turn toward each other instead of away: responding favorably and do not use avoidant communication styles such as cold-war;
(4) Let your partner influence you: accepting change and taking your partner’s opinions into account;
(5) Solve solvable problems: making efforts and compromises to solve conflicts such as work-family conflicts;
(6) Overcome gridlock: willingness to open dialogues and explore deep feelings surrounding tough conflicts such as those involving the in-laws;
(7) Create shared meaning: pursuing a meaningful life with your partner together.
There are several tests in this book to check your marital quality and help you figure out in what way you can improve it. Give it a read.