The Nitty Gritty of a Successful Marriage

What is a Successful Marriage?

The success of a marriage is defined by the two individuals involved in the relationship. If you two are generally happy and growing as individuals and as a couple then your marriage is successful.

Being in a successful marriage doesn’t mean that there won’t be difficult days in your marriage. It just means that you will come out of every trial and test of your marriage together and stronger.

Having said that, due to human psyche, there are some essentials of a successful marriage without those people can’t stay happy in a love relationship.

Essential Traits of a Successful Marriage

1. Respect

The number one trait that is essential to the success of a marriage is respect. If you don’t respect your spouse or he doesn’t respect you then your marriage is standing on a very weak foundation.

Both a husband and a wife need a feeling of self-worth to flourish in a relationship. Respect gives them that feeling of self-worth.

2. Commitment

Marriage demands commitment. When you are married to somebody you need to be committed to that person whether you like it or not. In a successful marriage both the partners are committed to each other.

The most precious fruit of commitment in a love relationship is loyalty. You have to remain loyal to your spouse no matter what. Once you are loyal you earn the trust of your spouse.

3. Honesty

Honesty is another essential of a successful marriage. In a love relationship trust is earned, one step at a time. Being honest helps you to gain that trust of your spouse with each passing day. Secondly there is an aura around honesty. It keeps you relaxed and happy. With honesty you don’t need to remember or hide anything.

4. Intimacy

There are two aspects of intimacy in a marriage. One is emotional intimacy and the other is physical intimacy. Emotional intimacy relates with the emotional bond of the couple. The feeling of companionship and togetherness are a result of emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the basis of physical intimacy.  Both emotional and physical intimacies are essential for the success of a marriage.

5. Good Communication

Marriages go through different ups and downs. There are good and not so good days. Good communication not only helps you to build the relationship in the good days it also helps you to go through the not so good days, relatively unharmed.

In successful marriages, couples talk to each other about each other. They communicate their needs and desires effectively. As a result of good communication, both partners feel heard and seen.

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6. Forgiveness

As Ruth Bell Graham has very rightly said: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers”. In successful marriages, both partners forgive easily. Due to the emotional attachment involved in marriage, both partners are vulnerable to get hurt easily. In those moments only forgiveness can help them. Forgiveness adds much-needed depth and security to the marriage.

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7. Love & Affection

In successful marriages both the partners show love and affection. Regular display of love and affection makes their relationship healthy and strong.

In the early days of marriage all the aforementioned essentials seem so easy to master, isn’t it?

But what happens when we are a few years into our marriages?

You might have seen a few marriages which have gone stale with the passage of time. Why is it so? Let’s check out the most common culprit behind not so successful marriages.

Common Threats To  a Successful Marriage

1. Taking Each Other For Granted

Taking each other for granted is the number one threat to a successful marriage. When you are a few years into your marriage you feel more relaxed and secure in the relationship. It becomes easier to be oblivious of the needs of your partner.

In the back of your mind, you might feel that your spouse will always be there for you without any effort at your part. As a result, the relationship begins to deteriorate.

2. Stress

Stress is a major culprit behind our many problems. It affects human health, wealth and relationships. Due to the stress hormones you might feel less satisfied in your marriage. Stress decreases libido, makes you anxious and emotionally unavailable.

3. Misuse of Social Media

Research has proven that excessive use of social media has negative effects on marriages and relationships. Instead of turning towards each other couples turn towards social media for support. This may lead to jealousy, marital conflicts, infidelity and even divorce.

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4. Lack of Communication

Good communication is a key for a healthy and strong marriage because every person needs to feel seen and heard in a relationship. When a couple communicates less or communicate ineffectively, overtime they lose their connection with each other. They don’t look towards each other for support and may end up like two strangers living under the same roof.

5. Perfectionism

The notion, “They married and lived happily ever after” is deep rooted in human culture. As a result, a vast majority of people expect their marriages to be perfect. In reality getting married is the beginning of a journey of ups and downs. When reality doesn’t meet expectations couples end up with disappointments, frustrations and heartbreaks.

6. Contempt

By definition, considering your significant other unworthy of your respect and attention is called contempt. Contempt can be communicated verbally or non-verbally. Either way, it’s equally corrosive for the relationship. According to John Gottman, contempt is one of the early indicators of a failing relationship.

So, now we know the essentials of a successful marriage and common threats to it.

 Can we do something to build a successful marriage?

How To Build a Successful Marriage

1. Remember That a Successful Marriage Needs Hard Work

Marriage is not a start of living happily ever after. It the beginning of a journey of ups and downs. It needs hard work by both the partners to flourish and become a source of happiness.

2. Intentionally Give Priority To Your Marriage

With the passage of time, it’s easier to get carried away with the demands of life and give the last spot to marriage on your priority list. But in order to ensure that you have a loving and warm relationship you will have to intentionally give it the top priority.

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3. Communicate Clearly

Make a habit of communicating clearly. Both men and women are different by default. One of them might overlook a thing which is very much obvious for the other one. Therefore, there should be no assumptions like “He should know this… She should understand…He should remember what I said last time..”

Clearly state your desires, demands, grievances and demand the same from your spouse, so that there are no hidden disappointments or resentments.

4. Be Kind

Anger and bitterness are piousness to a marriage. Make it a motto to give your point of view with kindness. You can even communicate negative emotions like anger, disappointment and frustration with kindness. When you are kind with your words you get the desired outcomes much quickly without ripping apart your spouse.

5. Fulfill Each Other’s Needs

Both you and your spouse have your own set of emotional, physical and social needs. The comittment of marriage demands from both the partners to fulfill each other’s needs. Your marriage can be a success only if needs both of your are met.

6. Know Each Other’s Love Language

According to relationship coach Dr. Gary Chapman there are five love languages including acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation and quality time. People feel most loved when they are treated in their preferred love language. I highly recommend you to read the book, “The five Love languages” to know the primary love language of your spouse. Then you can express love in a language preferred by your spouse to him the most loved. Both of you might take this test to know each other’s primary love languages.

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7. Choose Your battles Wisely

Marital conflict is inevitable. There is a great likelihood that you will encounter disagreement, disappointment, anger and frustration in your marriage. That’s natural, every couple goes through these emotions at some point. All you need to do is to choose your battles wisely. Fighting for petty issues will only tire you and your relationship. You need to be fighting for only those things which are worth fighting for.

8. Be a Team

When you are married you become a team. You might have differences in your parenting styles, the way you spend money or generally how you live your life. But you need to remember that you will have to solve the issues together. No third person should be involved in your personal problems unless that person is a therapist.

9. Don’t Shy Away From Seeking Help

If there arises a problem which you two are unable to solve on your own there is no harm in seeking help. According to John Gottman seeking help early will benefit you the most. Approaching a professional during difficult times is a sign that your relationship is important to you. It’s a sign of strength not weakness.

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