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How to have a Happy Marriage

Updated on February 23, 2016

Happily Married

All Smiles
All Smiles

All Smiles

There are no guarantees when it comes to having a happy marriage. There's no reference guide at the back of any magazine. There isn't a club you join and stay married by paying your monthly dues. There is no recipe to find in a cookbook. It starts with two people who want to commit to each other for the rest of their life to have a chance at a happy marriage.

Here is my guideline for a happy marriage. Please remember one important thing. Having a happy marriage does not mean that there will not be troubles.. There definitely will still be trouble and problems. The key is to treat these times as an opportunity to find even more ways to strengthen your marriage. This will require patience, understanding and a willingness to accept each other without fail.

This is when you discover that the other person is worth fighting for and keeping your marriage intact. Instead of feeling the emotions behind the troubles, identify the reason you have those feelings and create a new and nurturing behavior

Let Me Count the Ways

From my experience and for what it's worth, here is a ten step guide to follow so that you can have a happy marriage. These are all things that my wife and I have learned are important in the 40 years we have been married.

  1. Commitment: You are promising to be faithful and loyal to one, and only one person; your significant other. No matter what, through thick and thin, you will be there and share all of your feelings, heart, soul and mind. Couples that have good marriages retain their mutual respect and understanding of each other no matter how dire a problem becomes.
  2. Be Friends First: Love is more than just physical attraction. Be nice to each other and always be there for each other. According to Susan Boon, PhD, a social psychologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, a happy marriage is based on deep friendship, knowing each other well and having mutual respect. Karl A. Pillmer, a PhD. and Professor of Human Development at Cornell University and the author of, "30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans", reported that when asking elders their secret to a lasting marriage, a common answer from people in long marriages was: "I married my best friend." The sexual desire is great, but it doesn't last forever.
  3. Listen: Do not be afraid to listen. The people who are good at communicating with others always strive to be a skilled listener. I once was talking to a company executive where I had just started to work. He was talking about things that far exceeded my expertise. I listened intently, asked a few well intentioned questions and then added a comment when asked. I later heard that this executive felt I was quite a guy, a “damned good man” who really knew his stuff. Yet all I did was show an interest in what he wanted to talk about and listened. Imagine how powerful and helpful this would be with your spouse. Show them that they are important.

and a few more...

  1. Tell Them They Matter: Who hasn't felt unappreciated and under valued at times? We all have felt like we are not important. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate what they have done for you. Tell them you need them and could not imagine life without them. It is important to remember the spark and excitement you felt when you first met.
  2. Like First, Then Love: I believe that the order of this sequence is essential. It's rare that you love someone instantly. First, you like them, have a definite interest in them, have an attraction towards them, respect them as a person, build a friendship and then from the progression of all of these steps you may fall in love. You will build a fulfilling marriage.
  3. Be Affectionate: My wife and I like hugs and small tender kisses. We like holding each other without it leading to sex every time. We like back rubs, foot rubs and neck rubs. We still like holding hands. Spend quality time together. You are showing affection when you recognize what your spouse needs and then meet those needs in a way he or she can understand. Affection leads to intimacy, satisfaction, anticipation, and contentment.

Last but not Least

  1. Compromise: Love and marriage means that two people are now living as one. The days of doing what you want without regards to how it affects others are over. Selfishness must turn to selflessness. You and your spouse should both give in a little and it truly is a give and take proposition. You will not always be right in every situation.To some degree, you have to be willing to accept the 'other' point of view.
  2. Humor: No marriage survives without some laughter and humor as part of your lives. You can tell jokes and laugh at their jokes. You don’t have to take everything so seriously and try being more spontaneous and witty. Laughter does make the world go around and is often contagious. E.E. Cummings wrote, "The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." Laughter has a way of bringing the two of you together.

I am not a professional in relationship counseling. I am not a marriage counselor. I am married to a wonderful woman for over 40 years and we have practiced these principals in our life. We are just two people who want to be together until the end of time.

Take the time out of your day and just appreciate each other. Smile, be happy and don't forget to tell each other, "I Love You." As I read in an article while researching items for this hub and a sage reminder to us all, “Do Not Disturb: Marriage In Progress.”

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    • profile image

      Charlotte 3 years ago

      Yeah, that's the titkec, sir or ma'am

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      very good advice...i need to start following some of it myself. thanks and voted up and useful! :)