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Healthy Habits for a Healthy Marriage

Do you think the "spark" has left your marriage? The following tips may help light that fire again!

Nashville, Ark. – Recent studies show that the divorce rate in the U.S. is at an all-time low. Marriage on the other hand is at the highest rate since 2009. This is great news! However, there may be some people out there thinking the “spark” has left their marriage and it may be headed for a downward turn. How can this be prevented?

            According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, divorce generally stems from causes such as a lack of commitment or intimacy, unrealistic expectations or stress over finances and other life events. In our busy, day-to-day routines of work, kids, schedules and life in general, intimacy in marriage can sometimes get pushed to the back burner. Couples may feel their relationship with their spouse is more like a roommate instead of a marriage. It may be time to stop, reconnect and rekindle the romance.

            Connection doesn’t require a lot of planning. Even if the only time you have together alone is after the kids are asleep and you’re exhausted, hold hands while watching your favorite television show. Sit next to each other and just enjoy being together. During the day, maybe you could meet for lunch, or enjoy a cup of coffee together in the morning before waking the kids. Find time to be together just the two of you.

            Make a date night. You might want to plan on hiring a sitter, a grandparent or friend to watch your child while you go out with your spouse. Even if you just go grocery shopping or run errands together, being alone is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy relationship.

            Engaging in healthy habits is the key to health in general. There are three habits of healthy marriage that will help keep the romantic fires burning long after saying “I do” according to experts.

  • Take time to connect – Touch is a powerful thing. Hold hands in the car while taking kids to practice, sit close to each other on the couch while watching a movie with the family, hug, kiss, and remind each other how important they are.
  • Stay in contact – Don’t let the practicality of raising a family pull you so far apart that you become strangers. Send texts during the day to let your partner know that you are thinking about them. Eat lunch together if possible. Do little things for your spouse that you know they will appreciate.
  • Keep dating – Go out for a meal. See a movie. Take a picnic to the park. Drive around together and talk. Make time to be together. It is so important!

            For more information on marriage and family issues, contact the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service.

Recipe of the Week

            Abbie Lamb, a 4-H member of the Teen Leaders and Show Stoppers clubs in Howard County, prepared this recipe for the recent breads/cookie contest. She placed second with this family favorite recipe. It takes a little work, but the results are well worth it!

Maple Nut Twist


1 pkg. hot roll mix

¾ cup warm water

1 egg

1 tsp. maple flavoring

6 Tbsp. melted butter

3 Tbsp. sugar


1 Tbsp. melted butter

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. maple flavoring

1/3 cup chopped nuts


1 ½ cups powdered sugar

¼ tsp. maple flavoring

Enough milk to make thin glaze

            Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve yeast from mix in large mixing bowl in warm water. Stir in egg, sugar and maple flavoring. Add the flour mixture from the mix. Blend well. Knead on floured surface until smooth and satiny, 2 to 3 minutes. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size, 30 to 45 minutes. Prepare filling while dough is rising. Combine all filling ingredients except the melted butter. Divide dough equally into 3 balls. On lightly floured surface, roll out one ball into a 12-inch circle. Fit into bottom of a greased 12-inch pizza pan. Brush dough with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of the filling mixture. Continue in same manner with the other 2 balls of dough. Use a glass to mark a 2-inch circle in the center of dough. Do not cut through the dough. Cut from outside edge just to the marked circle forming 16 pie-shaped wedges. Twist each of the wedges 5 times. Let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle while warm with glaze.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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