Recently, my 20 year old daughter asked me why even bother getting married. I told her that 50% of couples stay married, some even get their happy ever after. This is the advice I gave her on how, I thought, she would have a shot at a happy married life.
1. He is not going to change. Even though he may say he will, and you may be able to modify his behavior somewhat, i.e. get him to call when he's going to be late. What you see, is what you get. WYSIWYG.
2. Do not under any circumstance; put aside your own dreams, goals, aspirations for his.
3. Compromise, don't acquiesce.
4. Share the responsibility of raising your children. Your job is not less important because you are the woman. Take turning taking days off from work when kids are sick, have school functions or days off from school.
5. As life happens and routine takes over make sure you make it priority to have a date night with your husband. You don't have to go out. Even just sharing a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed can help you keep connected to your husband.
6. Nurture the relationship to keep communication alive. One of the reasons men stray is because they don't feel like they're being paid attention to by their wives. This means if there are chores and you feel they have to be done right now, they don't. They can wait. Make time to connect with your husband. The laundry will still be there. Who knows? Maybe he'll even help with the chores so you can have more time together. Ideally, he will already be helping with the chores. For example, he does the dinner clean up and you help the kids with homework.
7. Do not let yourself go. Pamper yourself. Get your hair colored, nails done, go to the gym. Happy wife equals happy life. Remember to love yourself.
8. Understand marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. Most of the time marriage is a 90/10 split. Just make sure you're not always being the one giving 90%. This will lead to build up resentment that will only build over time and lead to explosive arguments.
9. Go away on trips with your husband without the kids.
10. If he cheats, it's not because of you. It's because of him and who he is as a person.