No two marriages are alike. Yours will be an ever-evolving combination of the unique interests, passions, values, and personality quirks that you and your partner bring to your relationship. However, there are eight things that all successful marriages have in common. Patience is not included in the list, but patience is key as you discover how these eight principles will play out in your marriage.
For any marriage to be a place of happiness and rest, both partners must be committed to learning and practicing healthy communication. Communication is the greatest tool for understanding and being understood, yet you might be surprised at the number of couples who simply do not communicate their needs or feelings. Broken communication may be a result of broken trust or failed attempts in the past, and if that’s the case, those issues need to be addressed first. Positive communication includes repeating back what you thought you heard, summarizing, empathizing, and speaking constructively instead of criticizing or attacking.
This may seem obvious, but if you expect your marriage to last, you have to make time together a priority. Regular dates are a staple of most dating relationships, but after the honeymoon phase wears off, life can get in the way. Jobs, kids, and simply taking each other for granted are common reasons that time together starts to dwindle. A great way to keep romance alive is to learn something new together, or discover new places. New experiences are one of the best ways to learn new facts about someone you thought you knew completely. It takes a lifetime to learn another person, and the only way you can do that is to spend time with them.
Spending time away from each other is equally as vital to a healthy marriage as spending time together. And no, this doesn’t mean watching TV in separate rooms. Everyone needs breathing space. Encourage your spouse to go on weekend trips with the guys or head out for a girl’s night. It may seem counterintuitive, but spending time apart can sometimes be the best way to remember what you appreciate about each other.
There are some things in a marriage that you simply must learn to accept. Of course, this doesn’t apply to things that cause pain to either of you or are unhealthy for your relationship. It does, however, apply to some of the quirks and habits that your spouse possesses. Every healthy marriage includes two people who have learned when to pick a fight and when to let things go. Accept that your spouse is not, and never will be, exactly like you—if he or she was, you wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place!
Willingness To Ask For Help
Every marriage has its ups and downs. Sometimes, to make it to the other side of a difficult season, you’ll need some outside insight. If you and your spouse keep fighting over the same problem, you may want to visit an experienced marriage counselor. One thing you probably don’t want to do is start talking about your problems with your friends or family members, as you’ll only ever received a biased point of view. Visiting an objective counselor is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of commitment and hope. Many a marriage has failed simply because one or both partners were too proud to ask for help.
This one is simple, and yet living it can be difficult: your spouse cannot be your main source of energy. If you rely on your husband or wife to give your life meaning, purpose, and energy, he or she will inevitably fail to meet your expectations, paving the way for resentment to settle in one or both of your minds. Your spouse will make you laugh when no one else can, and can comfort you in ways that no one else will. But you are responsible for your own happiness. What recharges you, helps you de-stress, or fills you with passion? Make those things a priority in your life, and your marriage will thank you.
You and your spouse must be a team working towards a shared goal. It may be that your purpose is to create the most loving and life-giving home for your children. It may be that you’re pushing each other to train for a triathlon. Maybe you’re saving up for a shared travel adventure. Maybe you have several large purposes, and a few smaller ones. They will change as your lives change, but always treat your partner as teammate in a greater journey. Mutual reliance and respect are the secret ingredients to a happy marriage.