by | Oct 17, 2023

Ever wonder why some marriages seem to hum along for decades while others crash and burn in the first few years? Have you found yourself questioning what the secret sauce is to make marriage work? Turns out, successful marriages have a few key things in common that set them apart. The good news is, these are things anyone can cultivate. So if you’re married or thinking about tying the knot, take note. These traits can help transform an “okay” marriage into a lifelong, thriving partnership.

Communication Is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Successful marriages are built on a foundation of honest communication. Without it, relationships crumble. Make communicating a priority in your marriage by:

-Talking often. Set aside time each day just to chat with your spouse about anything and everything. Discuss your hopes, dreams, challenges, and feelings. The more you talk, the closer you’ll become.

-Listening actively. Pay attention to your partner when they speak and make eye contact. Respond and ask follow-up questions to show you understand them. Reflect on what they’ve said by paraphrasing it back to them. Active listening builds trust and intimacy.

-Discussing difficult issues. Don’t avoid important conversations because they’re uncomfortable. Calmly and respectfully talk about finances, in-laws, intimacy challenges, health issues, or whatever is relevant. Come together as a team to find solutions.

-Expressing affection openly. Say “I love you” often, give hugs, hold hands, and kiss. Physical intimacy leads to emotional intimacy. Compliment your partner and express appreciation for the big and little things they do.

-Fighting fair. Disagreements happen but handle them constructively. Focus on one issue at a time, and avoid accusations and criticism. Use “I” statements, and take breaks if emotions run high. Compromise when you can, and forgive easily.

With dedication, communication in your marriage will become second nature. Make the effort to really connect with your spouse every day, and watch your relationship blossom and grow stronger. Your marriage success depends on it!

Make Quality Time for Your Spouse

Making quality time for your spouse is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy marriage.

Date Nights

Plan regular date nights – at least once a month, if not more. Go out for dinner, see a movie, and try a new activity together like dancing, rock climbing, or cooking classes. Do something fun and different that allows you to reconnect without distractions. Make eye contact, hold hands, flirt, and focus on each other. Date nights are essential for keeping the spark alive.

Express Appreciation

Say “I love you” often. Give random hugs, hold hands, and kiss. Offer compliments and words of affirmation to build your partner up. Do small things to show you care like writing a heartfelt love note or giving a card or small gift. Make eye contact, smile, and express how much you appreciate them. Gratitude and physical intimacy lead to a healthy, thriving marriage.

Compromise

Be willing to meet in the middle. Compromise when you disagree and learn how to have constructive arguments. Say sorry when you mess up – it goes a long way. Make an effort to understand your partner’s perspective and needs. A successful marriage is all about teamwork, empathy, and compromise.

Put in the effort to invest in your relationship and make your spouse a priority. Strong, loving marriages don’t happen by accident – they require work, commitment, and quality time together. But the rewards of a lifelong partnership are well worth it!

Be Supportive of Each Other’s Interests and Goals

A successful marriage requires effort from both partners. One way to strengthen your marriage is by supporting each other’s interests and goals. Rather than resenting the time you each spend on hobbies, personal pursuits, or careers, learn to appreciate them.

Cheer Each Other On

Make an effort to express genuine interest in what your spouse cares about. Ask questions about their activities and accomplishments, however small they may seem. Your support and enthusiasm can motivate them to pursue their goals and dreams.

Say things like:

• “I’m so proud of you for doing what you love.”

• “You’re really good at ______. Keep up the great work!”

• “I believe in you and know you can achieve your goals.”

This kind of encouragement and praise can help strengthen your emotional and intellectual intimacy.

Make Time for Shared Interests Too

While independence is healthy, it’s also important to bond over shared interests and activities together. Try a new hobby together like hiking, cooking classes, or volunteering. Engaging in new experiences together forms connections and gives you shared memories to bond over for years to come.

Look for opportunities to mix your individual interests as well. For example, if one of you enjoys gardening and the other photography, work on a garden photography project together. Combining your separate interests into a collaborative activity you both enjoy is a great way to stay close and supportive.

Manage Conflict Constructively

Successful marriages take work. One of the most important skills to develop is managing conflict in a constructive way. Rather than avoidance or aggression, approach disagreements with patience, empathy, and compromise.

Communicate openly and honestly.

Talk to your partner about issues while they’re still small. Don’t bottle things up or avoid difficult conversations. Express how their actions made you feel and listen to their perspective with an open mind. Use “I” statements and focus on one issue at a time.

Compromise when you disagree.

Be willing to meet each other halfway. Compromise means both people sacrifice to find a solution you can both be satisfied with. Focus on interests, not positions. Look for win-win options and be creative.

Respect differences of opinion.

You won’t see eye to eye on everything. Accept that you are two separate people with unique experiences, values, and ways of thinking. Learn to appreciate your differences rather than trying to prove the other person wrong. With time, some differences may even become endearing.

Forgive past mistakes and hurts.

Holding onto resentment will damage your connection over time. Make the choice to forgive your partner, then work to rebuild trust. Apologize sincerely when needed. Let go of old baggage and give your partner another chance. Start fresh.

Seek counseling or mediation if needed.

If communication breaks down completely or there are persistent issues you struggle to resolve, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A counselor can help facilitate productive conversations, uncover the root cause of problems, and teach skills to get your marriage back on track.

With patience, empathy, and the willingness to compromise, you can navigate challenges and find greater understanding and connection. Make the choice to resolve conflicts in a constructive way, and your marriage will be stronger for it.

What Successful Marriages Have in Common FAQs

Successful marriages don’t just happen overnight. It takes work, commitment, sacrifice, empathy, and a willingness to meet in the middle. Here are a few of the key ingredients found in marriages that go the distance:

Communication

The happiest couples talk to each other openly and honestly. They share not only their hopes and dreams but also their fears, challenges, and imperfections. Make time each day to connect with your partner through meaningful conversation. Put down your phones, make eye contact, and listen to understand rather than just reply.

Compromise

In a healthy relationship, you accept that you can’t always get your way. Be willing to negotiate and find solutions you’re both comfortable with. Compromise shows you respect your partner’s needs and priorities too.

Affection

Don’t underestimate the importance of physical intimacy and affection in a marriage. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, giving compliments—these gestures keep you connected emotionally and physically. Make affection a daily habit to maintain that spark.

Shared interests

Having your own hobbies and interests is healthy, but also find common ground by doing some activities together. Take a class on something new you both want to try, start a project, cook together, exercise together, or engage in regular date nights. Shared experiences create bonding moments.

Forgiveness

No one is perfect, so learn to forgive your partner for their mistakes, flaws, and oversights. And be willing to sincerely apologize when you mess up too. Forgiveness is the glue that holds relationships together during difficult times. Make the choice to move past issues rather than hold onto resentment.

Commitment

A successful marriage requires commitment—the decision to stick with your partner for better or for worse, during sickness and health, for richer or poorer. Renew your commitment to the relationship daily through your words and actions. Choose to be faithful, loyal, and dedicated to your shared life together.

Conclusion

You’ve now seen that successful marriages share several key traits like commitment, communication, compromise, and quality time together. But the truth is, there’s no “secret formula” or strict rulebook for making marriage work. At the end of the day, it comes down to you and your partner – how much you value each other, support each other’s dreams, make each other laugh, appreciate each other’s quirks, and choose each other every single day. A great marriage is really the sum of many small moments, tiny kindnesses, inside jokes, and daily decisions to love each other. So take these lessons to heart, but remember that your marriage is uniquely your own. With patience, empathy, and effort, you can build a lifelong partnership and love that stands the test of time. The work is hard but the rewards are great. Now go hug your spouse!

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