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Fifteen Secrets of a Happy Marriage

Over the past few years, I have spoken to dozens of happily married couples ... with marriages that have lasted for fifty years or more. Here are the fifteen pearls of wisdom, they all seemed to share.

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1. Start your day together
Get your lazy bum out of bed and spend a few minutes together, before the day’s stresses. This applies to a husband and a wife. If you share nothing more then a cup of coffee together, you have shown each other a commitment towards your marriage. Is cutting a few minutes off your sleep schedule not worth that much? No harm done, but relationship strengthened.

2. Start your days on a positive note
Again, this applies to a husband and wife. Ladies, don’t gripe about things. Gentlemen, share something positive with your wife. Your spouse already knows about what ticks you off, but for heaven’s sake, must it be the focal point of every waking moment? This also applies to the end of the day. The phrase; don’t go to bed mad at each other, is absolutely right. When it comes to a good nights sleep, it is vitally important to let go off all the negatives between a couple. Worst case scenario, agree to disagree, at least for the moment.

3. Show affection toward each other
No matter how ticked off or stressed you may be, never forget that peck on the lips or cheek. Also it is a scientific fact, that a hug is a huge stress reliever. Affection is not just for the bedroom, it is vitally important at any time of day. It does not have to be a passionate moment, just a quick hug and kiss that can make the day so much better, for both of you.

4. Sit down for dinner
Sure, we all want to relax and watch the boob tube at the end of the day. But it surely does not show appreciation for the spouse that prepared the meal. Also, is what is on TV more important then a good marriage? So turn that TV off, and spend some time enjoying each other’s company. If you have children, dinner is family time. Talk to each other about the day. Talking only during commercial breaks is not a good way to stay strong as a couple, nor as a family. Sit around the dinner table; don’t sit around with TV trays.

5. Show respect and gratitude
Just because your wife is in charge of laundry or cleaning, does not mean that she does not deserve a, Thank You, every once in a while. Wives, take a moment to thank your husband for working to support the family, or cutting the grass or taking out the garbage. Never take the contributions, that each of you make towards your lives, for granted. Doing chores are a necessary evil, so be grateful towards each other. Oh, and of course, mean it when you say it. Also, this goes hand in had with sharing chores in a fair manner. A woman having to do all the housework is a ridiculous notion. Just as the notion that men handle all the hard work. Find balance and be fair.

6. Say “I Love You”
If you part company, definitely say this, as you may never know what can happen during the day. How would you feel if one of you were in an accident and, God forbid, actually died? Would you want your last memories with your spouse be an angry exchange. It will give your day a boost and a renewed reason for having to work. Three little words that can make all the difference towards a positive day, and a strong marriage. These should also be the last three words you say, before you go to sleep. No matter what has taken place, this is important.

7. Make an effort to look nice for each other
Men, put on a clean shirt and clean pants. Ladies, put on a nice outfit. This does not mean that you have to look like a model all the time. But both parties should at least make an effort to look somewhat appealing. Unkempt hair and dirty clothes are a turn off to anyone, most of all your spouse.

8. Talk to each other
Simple enough, right? Wrong, there is a huge difference between talking to each other and just griping at each other. If all you have to talk about is negative, then one of you will tune out. Show a genuine interest in what your spouse has to say. Ladies, don’t just share a bunch or trivial piffle, gossip and problems. Find something interesting and positive amongst all the stresses of daily life. Gentlemen, this goes for you too. Talk to your wife as an intelligent person, not just like a stressed and selfish maniac. There are so many topics of conversation that can keep life interesting, so find one.

9. There is absolutely no room for jealousy in a relationship
Jealousy issues should be worked out prior to a marriage. Showing this emotion is a slap in the face to the person that has already made a lifetime commitment to you.

10. Give each other a bit of space from time to time
We all need a bit of away time from each other to help us refocus. Ladies, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your husband having a guys night out. Gentlemen, your wife will be fine during girls night out. (See #9) It is not necessary for a couple to spend every single free moment with each other. Absence makes that heart grow fonder. No truer thing has ever been said. But be mindful of not neglect each other and spend too much time apart. After all, you have made a commitment to be together. You must find balance on this issue.

11. Honesty is another very important part of married life
Even if you know that your spouse may get upset about something, be honest and find the right time and place to talk to them. If your partner gets upset, don’t take this as defeat. Ask yourself, how you would feel if the tables were turned? Without honesty you cannot have a good marriage. If you cannot rely on each other to be honest, you marriage will not be built on a solid foundation.

12. It is important to note that the statement of; “A marriage is fifty, fifty” is totally wrong
If you only give fifty percent of yourself, you are cheating your partner. A marriage by all rights needs to be 100 percent and 100 percent, in order to work. Give it your all, with your whole heart. If you are not prepared to do so, do not get married.

13. Never use sex as a bribe or punishment
You have committed yourself to being faithful to your partner. So, if you do not wish your partner to find another outlet for this physical need, you are in violation of your marriage agreement.

14. Keep what happened between you both to yourself
Your marriage should never be an open book. If you share intimate details of what goes on, you are violating your spouse's trust, which can seriously damage your relationship.

15. Never humiliate your partner
Applicable at home as well as outside the home. This includes using private pet names you may have for each other. Or pointing out a mistake your partner may have made, even if it was funny. This is especially true when it comes to your in laws. You will not gain status, you will only loose their respect and that of your spouse. Simply put, if you can not say anything nice, then do not say anything at all. A good point to practice even outside your marriage.

Marriage is not a dictatorship, marriage is a partnership

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