What Makes A Successful Marriage?

Good morning everyone!  I hope your day is off to a great start.  It is True Love Tuesday  here at the lake.  The new year has not yet begun and we have two inquiries about weddings!  I am so excited.  I hope we are able to book them.  I am looking forward to a great year of weddings.

My good friend Steph, over at Burbs to Boonies, responded to my I Will Be Here, Will You?  post.  In her comments she said that one thing she would like to see is more about successful marriages.  As I have thought about that, I came up with the idea of interviewing couples who have been married for various lengths of time, starting with newlyweds and progressing to folks who have been married for 50, 60, or more years.

Courtesy of Ambro at Free Digital Photos

As it happens, we had the pleasure of having an open house here for a newly married couple this past weekend.  They are young and so very in love.  They are absolutely adorable.  I will show you some pictures and you can judge for yourself.   I have known the bride for about 2 years now.  She and her brother, Brandon, were very helpful to me in getting the Bed and Breakfast ready for our grand opening.

I managed to corral the couple for a few moments and start to interview them about their courtship, proposal, wedding day, and hopes and dreams for the future.  However, we were interrupted by the arrival of more guests and have postponed the interview until this evening.  I am very much looking forward to continuing our interview and will share it with you next Tuesday.

Since, we don’t have the interview yet, I want to explain a bit more about this project.   Let me begin by telling you a little bit about my marriage.  My husband and I come from totally different backgrounds. His was a stable environment.  His parents had been married only once and were truly deeply in love with one another.  I don’t ever remember either of them saying a cross word to the other.  My parents divorced when I was very young, and they both remarried multiple times. My mother and father lost track of each other after the divorce and I didn’t see my father again until I was in my mid-thirties.  That is another story I can tell you some time.

My husband and I married in 1970.  Coming off of the ’60’s, it was a time when folks thought about marriage as though they were going steady.  The general consensus of many of our friends was that they would get married and if it didn’t work out they would get a divorce.  Although we came from totally different backgrounds, and because of the influence of those backgrounds, we had a different attitude. Our attitude was that if it didn’t work, we would find out what was wrong and fix it!  I guess today you would call that commitment.  We were committed not only to each other but to the marriage.

My mother worked with a dear sweet lady named Fern.  She was an older woman and before our wedding she said to me, “Honey, everyone is going to tell you that marriage is a 50-50 proposition. Don’t you believe it. If you aren’t willing to give 100%, it isn’t going to work.”  I have never forgotten her counsel.  And, I have always tried to live by it.  I think those were probably the most important words I ever heard about making a marriage last.

Has it always been pretty – No.  Like every couple, we have had our ups and downs.  But we manage to keep the bigger picture in view.  I truly believe you should never go to bed angry with one another.  I actually like to hold hands while we fall asleep.   If you are angry, you probably aren’t seeking out the other person’s hand before going to sleep.

Another factor that has actually been in our favor is my husband’s work schedule.  He has often worked away from home for long periods of time.  You may wonder how that helps.  Honestly, when your time with each other is limited, you don’t want to spend it fighting or arguing.

My husband has always respected me and has never tried to stifle or control me.  I have always respected him and I truly want him to be happy.   He has always been my ‘rock’.

I believe that one thing that hurts relationships is when the couples are growing at different speeds. One is interested in growing and the other isn’t.  That can be a difficult issue to deal with. We graduated from high school and went right into the work force.  However, a few years later, we both went back to school.  We have both always believed in improving our minds and our knowledge. That has served us well.

Let’s talk about divorce for a moment.  According to the ‘Encyclopedia of Psychology”,

“Marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couplesโ€™ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.”
Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

Wow!  That translates to a 1 in 2 chance of your marriage ending in divorce.  That is incomprehensible to me.  What can you do about that?  What can you do to give your marriage every possible chance for success?  Are there factors outside of your control?  
In this series of articles, we are going to look at successful marriages of various lengths of time.  We are going to look at the reason people got married, what their expectations were for the marriage, how they have kept the love alive, how they have managed the communications minefield, how they have stayed interested in one another, how they have kept boredom out of the relationship, and other areas that have defined their successful relationship.  I am going to give you some tips and counsel on having a successful marriage.  

I hope you will come away with a renewed dedication to your own marriage.  That you will have ideas that you can implement to improve your relationship with your spouse and take your marriage to a new level.

I hope you will join me on this voyage.  If you have an interest in being interviewed for the series, please let me know.  Also, if there are any other aspects of a successful marriage that you would like to see addressed, let me know.

I look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions.  

Have a fabulous day!

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  1. This is going to be a good series. My husband and I were late twenties/early thirties when we married. I think waiting so long has made us more appreciative of what we have (we married three months after meeting – we just knew). We don’t go to bed angry either. In fact, just about every night as I’m falling asleep I thank God for my husband. We just had our 16th anniversary and are more in love now than when we married. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love what you had to say about you and your husband. I, too, thank Heavenly Father every night for my husband. We have been married 43 years and I agree, that we are more in love now than before. I look forward to everyone’s input on this project.

  2. Regina, I am looking forward to this series. I tell anyone who mentions folks with marital problems that all marriages are worth saving. I pray for those in distress. My husband and I have been married 16 years. We dated for 2 years prior to marriage and did not co-habitat. I frequently lay my hand on him while he is sleeping and pray for him being sure to thank God for what he means to me and the blessing my husband is in my life. Although we may not meet your criteria, I would be happy to be interviewed for your series. We have a significant age difference which has never been a problem for us. Others may find it interesting.

    • Hi Shirley, thanks for stopping by. Great to see you here. You absolutely meet my criteria! I would love to interview you and your husband for the post. I agree that others may find your experiences helpful and interesting. Lets get together and discuss when we could do the interview. I am excited about that.

  3. What a fantastic series ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband & I have been married for over 17 years now. We dated for a year before we were engaged. We have always been in love with each other, but it wasn’t until our Hiatus that we grew to know each other. Things have never been better!

    • Thanks Renee. Great to see you here. I am so happy that you have a great relationship with your husband. It is so important. Love only takes us so far in the relationship, then it requires some work on our part to keep it going. If you are interested in participating in the project, let me know. Thanks

  4. Oh I am so excited to see this series! Really and truly excited. I loved this that you said: “Our attitude was that if it didn’t work, we would find out what was wrong and fix it! ” Beautiful. I feel that way about marriage now, after having been divorced and then marrying my old college sweetheart. I also had an older friend tell me two things about marriage that stuck with me. 1. The triangle of marriage – him and you at either side and God at the top. Oh my gosh how that helps. And 2. If your spouse does something that irritates you or breaks something, think about how you would handle it if a guest in your house did the same thing. Probably with a lot more grace and patience. And it’s funny, but my husband and I work together every. single. day. And I think for us that’s what has solidified our marriage. We depend on each other day in and day out. It is so interesting how in every marriage, there is something different that makes it work. It’s just a matter of finding what that is ๐Ÿ™‚ Love this!

    • Hi Steph. You were totally the inspiration for this series. I am glad you approve. It is so important to remember that triangle. And, I really like your second tip. Sometimes couples say things to each other that they wouldn’t say to their worst enemy. We really need to remember who that person is and how much we love them, and Heavenly Father loves them. I am glad that working together has worked in your marriage. I have another project I want to discuss with you so I will send you a message. Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year!

    • Oh, wow, well I’m glad what I said was helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ The triangle is super important but hard to remember in the midst of daily grind or an argument. I try hard though ๐Ÿ™‚ Working together has been great, but it is good to sometimes have time to do our own things too.

  5. What a beautiful post Regina so very heartwarming. Sadly I wouldnt be a good example for your study as I have been married before this maririage but I do believe this time I am more committed to the marriage than I ever was before, partly for the children but partly as I am able to be more thankful and recognise the good in others ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Lisa. Thanks for being here and commenting. Actually, you would be good for this series as well as one that I want to do later this year which will be on blended families. I would love it if you would consider being a part of either, or both, projects. Commitment is definitely a cornerstone of a good marriage. There are, of course, other factors, such as having the Lord as your partner in the marriage. That is actually the most important thing.

  6. Regina, this is so awesome! I can’t wait to read the posts. I know too well the pain of divorce (more than once), I know the pain of death in a marriage and I know the joy of a happy marriage as well. I have come to know that there is only 2 things I need to keep in mind for a healthy marriage. 1. Keep Christ in the middle and 2. Choose your battles, remember you love this person and they love you, so choose what you are going to escalate into a fight. Is it worth it in the long run?

    • Hi Angel. Thanks for stopping by. I am excited about this series. So far, the response as has been very positive, as you can see by the comments. I would love to visit with you further about the lessons learned. I totally agree with your 2 ideas for a healthy marriage. These are both so vitally important. Thanks for sharing.

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