A lot of traditional wisdom is honestly some of the best wisdom. When reading books and whatnot, sure it may often be presented in ways that are dated, but there's still a core of truth to much of it. For example:
1) Never go to bed angry. You might go to bed before you solve the problem, but no matter what it is, no matter how bad it is, you can always find a way to hug your wife, kiss her, and tell her that the two of you will be able to work it out. Going to bed angry breeds resentment.
True True! NEVER go to bed angry! EVER!
2) Find a few minutes to connect with your wife every day. Tell her that you love her in a way that's not just a repeat utterance of the phrase (like some people say "Have a good day," at the end of every transaction at the store). Change the word order, change the inflection, make eye contact, and hold her hand - something to indicate that you mean it and that you're not just saying it because it's supposed to be said.
Take it even further. Every time you walk by her, just touch her ass, or brush up against her gently. Something, anything to keep the physical connection going also.
3) Never say the word divorce. Not even once. It doesn't matter how mad you are, that is a word that once spoken you cannot take it back. It represents a fracture that will never heal.
Not even as a threat! NOT EVER!
4) Agree with each other that when you're having an argument which gets particularly heated, it is ok for either person to walk out of the room, and the argument can just wait until tempers have cooled down a bit. Personally I've always had a really bad temper, and it's only through substantial effort that I have learned to not allow it to control me. But I have a breaking point, and because I'm working so hard at controlling my temper by this point already, I go from seemingly relatively calm to white hot don't-later-remember-what-happened rage within a few seconds. When I fear I'm approaching that point, I walk away, and my wife lets me go. This is much harder than it seems, because both people are probably very angry, hurt, and frustrated at this point, and it's hard to set that aside for the moment. When you resume the discussion later (usually not very long, just long enough to cool off some), cooler heads almost always make it much smoother. DO NOT use this as a way to avoid an argument - this is meant to protect your marriage; abusing it is a form of dishonesty, and will cripple its ability to act as a safety valve. When you get to that point, the things you say can be so hurtful that they remain long after the original trifle that the argument was about is forgotten. When you walk out on the argument, you must always return to it, and it really should be the person who walked out who initiates the return.
Truer words have never been spoken! If you feel it's getting that bad, walk away! Things will be said that you can never take back and that will sit and ferment until it turns rancid and there is no fixing it! There will ALWAYS be fights. If you never fight, then there is something wrong!
5) Always put your wife first. Her interests always trump yours, just as they would when you're dating. That might sound like an unbalanced relationship, but when it's reciprocal the decision process is each person advocating for the other. It tends to cause much more level-headed discussions, and it reinforces the strength of your bond because you feel as if your spouse genuinely cares about what's best for you (and you're right about that). Women are much more likely than men to do this naturally, so you may have to work at it. Sometimes you don't get to do what you wanted to do, but if it's actually important to you, then she'll see and understand that and will advocate it for you. Often you'll later discover that it wasn't nearly as important to you as you thought it was at the time.
Here Here! The more you give, the more you get back! i.e. This morning I got a hummer for no reason, without even having to ask!
Being a geek and being married for 11 years now, the last 5 of them working from home, the main thing is communication and never taking each other for granted. Remember to give each other space when needed.
And for God's sake, stop reading all the damn books! They will do nothing but confuse the hell out of you if not scare the crap out of you with statistics! When my wife went back to school for her psychology major, she was bombarded with statistical information about how marriages didn't last and the such, which sent her on a downward spiral saying all the "statistics" show we weren't going to last! It took me forever to convince her that the statistics, regarding relationships at least, rarely if ever talk about the minority of couples that do make it work!
Good luck and just remember to always be yourself! Don't let anyone or anything change who you are!
Consider a form of art unhindered by copyright: dance.
That was the last safe art form!