Making a lifelong commitment to another individual is inevitably fraught with difficulties. There is no simple formula for a happy marriage, but some couples appear to have it down pat. Hundreds of readers were asked to share how they make their marriages work for The Cut. Their reactions included maintenance sex, pushing each other to pursue things on their own, and, of course, communication, communication, communication. Here’s what we found out about happiness in marriage.
Keys to Happiness in marriage
There is no such thing as a happy marriage all of the time. “There are ups and downs in all relationships,” says psychotherapist Erica MacGregor. Happy couples, on the other hand, listen to each other’s viewpoints, identify when an argument is going off the tracks, and make the required repairs, she says. In fact, family and couples therapist Dr. Juliana Morris notes that some of the happiest couples she has worked with “had endured bad times.” So, just because you and your spouse have a few disagreements or are going through a hard patch doesn’t indicate you’re in an unhappy marriage. In reality, it’s very likely that you’re normal.
#1. Focus on each other’s strengths
It’s not always easy to see past tiny annoyances, and you can even despise your partner at times. But, according to Ellen Chute, LMSW, in order to have a good marriage, you must embrace your partner’s qualities and shortcomings and be able to set reasonable expectations. If you’re good with numbers, for example, don’t get upset if they misbalance the checkbook. Make it your job to set the budget instead. Instead, if cooking is their strong suit, they can handle meal planning. Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, a co-author of the book Happy Together, which she co-wrote with her husband James Pawelski, Ph.D., argues that “using our skills on a regular basis is related with increased well-being.” “And we enjoy higher relational happiness when we help our spouse exploit their strengths,” she explains.
#2. Don’t expect your partner to complete you
Jerry Maguire is a fictional character in a film. It was beautiful when he said, “You complete me,” but it doesn’t fly in the real world. If you rely on your partner to fulfill you, according to Pawelski, it might lead to an over-dependent relationship in which you don’t grow as individual. Instead, she believes that partners in successful relationships should “complement,” rather than “complete,” one another. “While being open to the other person, we should be secure, mature, and entire in ourselves.” So, rather than waiting for your partner to fill the hole, develop your own interests and desires take a class you’re interested in, arrange plans with pals.
#3. But still, do things together. And have fun together
While it’s crucial to not be completely reliant on your spouse in order to keep your marriage joyful, it’s equally necessary to have common experiences. According to Pawelski, “injecting fresh activities and interests into your relationship helps enhance the bond.”
Couples evolve together when they share a distinct passion or master a skill together, such as taking a cooking class or tennis lessons. “Happy couples have a zest for life with one other,” Morris says. These experiences strengthen their connection, whether it’s a passion for travel, a strong desire to start a family together, or a commitment to a common cause.”
#4. Choose to be attracted to you spouse
You get to pick whether or not you think your partner is attractive. Yes, believe it or not. Sunny McMillan, certified life coach, radio personality, and author of Unhitched, says, “Attraction to your husband is a decision that you have the capacity to make throughout your marriage.” She suggests focusing on “attraction thoughts.” Focus on the qualities you’re drawn to, she advises, such as your spouse’s wonderful legs or the way they parent your kids (it doesn’t have to be physical). The good news is that you don’t have to be attracted to your partner to feel attracted to them. “Happily married couples are founded on a sense of connectedness,” Chute explains. “Physical attraction goes well beyond appearances.”
#5. Laugh with each other
Life is difficult, so finding a sense of humor even while you’re in the middle of it helps. “When a couple has humor, it usually implies they have perspective,” Morris says, advising couples to laugh in both happy and bad times. She claims to have noticed that happily married couples seem at ease around each other. Connecting with your spouse through laughing can strengthen your bond, she says, whether it’s through inside jokes, a humorous unexpected text, or simply watching your favorite comedy together.
#6. Be kind to one another
“It’s critical to treat your spouse with respect and understanding,” MacGregor says. “It usually ends in defensiveness and bitterness if you are critical and judgemental.” So, if you want to keep your marriage pleasant, don’t criticize your partner’s character when you’re dissatisfied. Don’t say anything like “you’re such a slob!” she advises. “You never pick up after yourselves.” Instead, say something like, “I’d really love it if you could clean the dishes tonight because I cooked supper.” Do you hear how much better that sounds?
#7. Celebrate small, good, moments
“Most of us understand the importance of being there for our partner during difficult times,” Pawelski explains. But, she adds, it’s as crucial to celebrate happy times. She claims that wonderful things happen more frequently than bad, but that couples frequently lose out on those opportunities to connect. “Immediately stop what you are doing and focus your whole attention,” she advises when your spouse shares something nice, such as a compliment from their boss. “Ask inquiries and actively celebrate the wonderful news to help them relish the moment.” You’ll express gratitude for the happy times in your marriage by doing so.
#8. Appreciate each other
It’s easy to take someone for granted when you’re around them all the time, but MacGregor believes that you should verbally express your gratitude every day. “We all need to feel recognized and reinforced for the things we are doing well,” says MacGregor, whether you’re praising them for something nice they’ve done or telling them something you admire about them. For instance, if your partner prepares you coffee in the morning, tell them how happy it made you. “We may become resentful and grow apart if we don’t feel respected.”
#9. Accept and expect change
Pawelski believes that for a marriage to be truly happy, both partners must be willing to grow and adapt. “Our needs change all the time, people change, and relationships change,” she explains. “What we need now may not be what we need in a few years.” Morris agrees: “In a balanced dance, it’s critical to bend, flex, and pivot with each other.” Because in a good marriage, each partner encourages the other to develop into the best person they can be, which means evolving as individuals and as a team. You will be together until death do you part.
#10. Be honest. Always
According to Dr. Coles, many of her clients come in because of “infidelity of various kinds,” but this does not always mean the end of a relationship. “People also have a tendency to deceive, which generates a distrust that is tough to overcome,” Dr. Coles continues. “I’ll find couples everywhere.” Some couples fantasize about [infidelity], while others tell me they’ve cheated on their partners three times.”
Biblical Keys To A Successful Marriage
The biblical keys to a good marriage begin with a God-centered marriage. Discover the following marital basic principles:
#1. Foundation in Christ
How can I maintain a happy marriage? Marriage must be centered on God.
Other than that, there is no way for your marriage to fully thrive. If you want to have a successful marriage, God and marriage go hand in hand.
‘As a result, a man will abandon his father and mother and combine with his wife, the two becoming one flesh? As a result, they are no longer two people, but one flesh. Therefore, no one should separate what God has brought together.” 5–6 in Matthew 19
A core concept of marriage is to keep your marriage focused on God. All other keys cannot be adequately based without God as the basis. A God-centered marriage seeks for, serves, honors, and pursues God.
We can be confident in the fact that God has a good plan for marriage. He has the ability to equip, alter, and empower us far beyond our own abilities.
From personal experience, God can genuinely transform the ugly, broken, shattered bits into something beautiful! These components must be handed over to Him.
Even if you’re the only one who surrenders at this moment, God will honor and bless your marriage’s pursuit of Him.
I remember nodding along assuring our pastor and my future husband, “Sure, yes, we’re committed,” as we sat in our premarital counseling appointment with our gifted copy of The 5 Love Languages. I was looking for an apartment and figuring out life on my own again nearly a year later.
They who build the homework in vain unless the Lord builds it” (Psalm 127:1a).
Commitment isn’t always straightforward. What does marriage commitment entail? Authentic devotion. It’s true dedication to both God and the marriage covenant. A good marriage requires commitment and a bond with Christ.
Focus on the Family provides excellent resources for deepening your commitment to Christian marriage ideals.
In today’s environment, the word “love” is thrown around so casually. Love is in Christian marriages by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is patient and compassionate. It has no enmity, boasts nothing, and is not arrogant. It doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-centered, isn’t easily enraged, and doesn’t keep track of wrongdoings. Love is not enamored with evil, but it is enamored of the truth. It always safeguards, always believes in, always hopes for, and always perseveres.
Love isn’t given on a “if-then” basis in a Christian marriage, nor is it based solely on feelings. Both of these measures have the potential to be harmful.
The love we’re to show our spouse should be a reflection of the love God shows us on a daily basis. Obviously, our partner isn’t always deserving… If we’re being honest with ourselves, neither are we. Despite our shortcomings, Christ loves us with an everlasting love that never fails.
Take extra time to fill up on God’s love when expressing love to your spouse is tough. Pour yourself into finding God’s love for you.
Praying for your marriage is definitely your most powerful tool. Prayer is a crucial biblical component of a happy marriage.
Intercede for one another in prayer. 5:16 in James
Your prayers are directly to the throne of God. Every breath, praise, and prayer is by him. Communication is just as vital between our spouses as it is with God in our marriage. Maintain open lines of communication.
When it comes to forming a holy marriage, prayer is essential.
#5. Christian Support
We relocated out of state during our first year of marriage, away from family, friends, and our church. Face-to-face accountability, encouragement, and support were all lost. That, believe me when I say, is the difficult way.
Find a church family if you’re looking for biblical marriage advice. Continue exploring until you find a Christian community that you can call home.
Seek out those who share your desire to have a Christian marriage. Those who are willing to be honest, do life together, pray with you when you’re going through a difficult time, celebrate with you, and cheer each other on in life.
Christian support is unquestionable when it comes to the keys to a happy marriage. We were to be a part of a community. Make it a priority to find a Christian community if you don’t already have one.
Another effective technique to cultivate the qualities of a happy marriage is forgiveness. Because of Jesus Christ, this is conceivable.
Kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness should characterize your interactions with one another, just as God forgave you in Christ. 4:32 (Ephesians)
Don’t let your rage fade away with the setting sun. 4:26 (Ephesians)
In a marriage, forgiveness is so important. Bitterness, animosity, and division will grow if they are not addressed.
It’s worth noting that forgiveness in marriage isn’t limited to you and your spouse. If you have a strong desire to be forgiven by God or even by yourself, it will have a big impact on your marriage.
Bring your need to God and ask for His pardon. He never refuses to pardon anyone. If necessary, seek the help of a Christian therapist.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Feel Forgave?
Ephesians 4:2-3 contains the following biblical keys to a happy marriage.
Be absolutely humble and mild; be patient and lovingly bear with one another. Make every effort to maintain the Spirit’s unity through the peace connection.
Each couple has high expectations and plans for their future life together, which they share with their family and friends. However, the path to a good marriage is not easy. Many couples choose not to continue the journey, as seen by today’s divorce statistics.
It would be simple to attribute our high percentage of marriage failure to factors such as not spending enough quality time together, allowing bitterness and anger to fester in our hearts, and failing to maintain open channels of communication. There are several books, articles, and seminars available that will teach you how to enhance these and other elements of your relationship. While spending quality time together, forgiving one another, and communicating are all key aspects of a good marriage, if these things aren’t happening, it’s usually an indication of a far deeper issue. And no amount of external behavior adjustment will help unless this problem is addressed.
Is happiness important in marriage?
Happiness is also important in marriage because it is a powerful motivator; couples who feel happy in their relationship will likely have more energy to work through relational challenges, learn relational skills, and seek opportunities to extend care in their marriages, families, and communities.
What makes a woman happy?
Surprisingly, researchers said they found that activities, such as sex, socializing, eating, exercising, and watching TV have a much bigger impact on women’s happiness on a daily basis than general circumstances, such as income, religion, or marital status.
What makes a man happiest?
To make your man happy emotionally, you have to be attentive to his needs and to know when to give him space. To make your man happy sexually, you have to want to try new things and to be bold and adventurous. But the most important part is that you are feeling happy while you’re pleasing your man.