A successful marriage isn't so much about whether or not you argue, but how you argue. Flashpoints and disagreements are common in any intimate relationship. Effective communication techniques are key to your happiness and closeness as a couple and, by extension, your family.

Do one of these common marital conflicts sound familiar? Here are tips to address the issues and strengthen your marriage.

1. Money

According to a study conducted by Jeffrey Dew, professor of Family Studies at Utah State University, weekly disagreements about money can fracture a marriage beyond repair, more so than occasional disagreements about finances.

Make a weekly appointment with each other to openly and honestly discuss finances. Understand each other's perspective when it comes to spending and saving, listen to each other's goals, and create a budget that works for both of you. For more ideas check out First Comes Love, Then Comes Money by Bethany and Scott Palmer.

2. Sex

Mismatched libidos, disinterest, exhaustion, boredom, or disappointment in the bedroom can cause conflict, resentment, and shame in a marriage. Hostile communication patterns and emotional disconnection can further dampen a couple's sex life. Resolving sexual issues can be complex, especially if medical or deep-seated issues are part of the problem.

Discuss your interests and desires with each other. Date, flirt, and listen to each other's concerns with an open heart. Also show your love in little ways every day which might help heat your love life back up in the bedroom. Research finds that happier couples express affection, offer small acts of kindness or service (like a back rub after a rough day), celebrate their spouse's accomplishments, respect and forgive each other. Noted marriage researcher and author Dr. John Gottman says happier couples practice the 5-to-1 ratio — five positive interactions for every negative interaction.

3. Children

Disagreements about child rearing, discipline, and parenting responsibilities can create contention between couples. Privately discuss your concerns with each other. Listen to your spouse's perspective. Explore the issue together and understand where your spouse is coming from. Listening and validating each other can go a long way toward toning down any argument and help you come to an agreement so that you can approach parenting as a team.

Invest in Couple Time

Shelter your marriage from inevitable storms by making your relationship a priority. Use couple time to share your hopes and dreams and discuss concerns. Plan date nights to build positive experiences together, engaging in activities you both enjoy like hiking, dancing, playing a game or cooking together. Plan a vacation just the two of you or attend a marriage retreat to learn helpful ways to strengthen your marriage.

If you continue to rehash old arguments or struggle with resolving your differences, consult with a marriage therapist to learn some healthy and helpful communication techniques.

For more ways to tune up your marriage, check out The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and Happily Ever After: How to be Happily Married to the One You Already Married by Dr. Dana Fillmore. Fillmore's website is also packed with helpful videos, webinars and articles.