Check out podcast episode 85 “What Key Elements Are You Missing” HERE or clicking on the picture below.
I often look at couples that seem to have it all together and look very happy in their marriage. The question that comes to my mind is “what things do they do that make them happy?” As we have talked to a lot of people there seems to be a trend of attributes that happy couples all have. In this article we will discuss the key elements to a happy marriage.
Couples that have a strong closeness and connection together have a mutual respect for one another. That doesn’t mean they don’t see everything the same way and never argue because they do have their own opinions and beliefs that do not always align with their spouse, but they respect the differences in their relationship and listen to each other, and most importantly.. respect each other. When couples have disagreements, they talk to each other in a loving way and respect how the other person feels. It’s not a contest or matter of who is right and who is wrong, but they respect each other and their differences they have.
Couples who are the happiest accept their spouse as they are. They don’t try to change their spouse to conform with what they want. They recognize their spouse has different strengths and weaknesses, different opinions and attributes and personality features. We have all seen the marriages where one spouse is nit picking everything the other spouse does, how they look or how they act and are always telling them what to do and what they need to change. Couples who try to change each other are always looking at the negative instead of the positive in their spouse and are often very unhappy and have unfulfilled marriages and lives.
When you trust one another, you have freedom in your marriage. You don’t need to worry about what your spouse is doing, who they are with or question your relationship. There is also no jealousy in relationships that have trust. Couples that trust each other are also much more self confident and happier overall. Here are some of things couples who trust each other do in their relationship:
- They are not afraid to open up and share ALL their feelings with each other as they trust each other.
- They admit when they are wrong and make mistakes.
- They are affectionate to each other. They hold hands, kiss, touch each other and show affection. Couples who are physical show how much they trust each other on a deeper level.
- They communicate and would drop everything to listen to you.
- Couples who trust each other are great listeners.
- There are no secrets between them.
- They aren’t insecure in their relationship.
Marriage’s fall apart when one, or both spouses stop putting effort into the relationship. When couples stop putting effort in, they are sending a message that the marriage and relationship isn’t that important. Think about when you first meet and start dating. You would move a mountain to make your spouse happy. You date, spend every moment you can together doing fun and exciting things. Your friends take a back seat and nothing seems to be of importance other than the one you love. Somehow things change when we get married and we just have a tendency to set the “cruise control” on the relationship. Here are some signs you are not putting enough effort into your marriage:
- The little things you did before disappear. You start to let yourself go, you don’t dress up, and those little things aren’t important anymore.
- Date nights no longer happen (or very seldom). You stop dating each other and doing fun and exciting things that bring you closer together like when you were dating.
- You stop communicating or having meaningful conversations because you assume you know everything about your spouse.
- Spending time together is no longer a priority. You spend more time at friends, doing hobbies or other things.
- You stop expressing your feelings to each other. You don’t say things like “I love you” or “I’am sorry”. You become less emotionally involved and connected.
- You loose interest in connecting both sexually and emotionally.
Couples that have healthy marriages feel sorry for what they have done and are able to genuinely apologize.. or accept an apology from their spouse. They are able to forget and move on from things. They don’t bring things back up to continue to remind their spouse as a form of hurting or punishing them. Couples who express remorse also tend to have humility.
Before you can create balance in your marriage, you first need to understand and identify what your priorities are. For many Christian marriages, their priorities would probably look like this:
- Marriage (Spouse)
- Kids – Family
- Everything else (service, activities, hobbies etc)
If couples rearranged the order and prioritized things differently, that could throw the balance off completely and create chaos. Just be mindful of what order your priorities are and where you are focusing your time.
Things you can do to help you find balance
- Choose your priorities and then focus your time on the important ones. For christians, it would look like the above order.
- Eliminate some of the tech time in your life. It is amazing how much each of us probably spend browsing on our phone, computer or technology and waisting time.
- Put a plan together and share it with your spouse. Let them help you find the balance in life that they, and the family need from you.
We all make excuses that we “have” to do things and we dont have a choice. We always have a choice in every decision we make. Make it a goal to choose your spouse everyday. Make them a priority instead of thinking that they can be put on the back burner. There is no other success that can replace a successful marriage. If your marriage falls apart, everything else falls.
Abraham Lincoln once said”a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If that is true for a nation, how much more true could it be for a marriage. A husband and wife each have their own unique qualities, personalities, talents, skills, weaknesses and purposes. We are very different and that is what God intended. So something very special happens when two very different people can come together in unity and have the same purpose. When couples get married, they go from “me” to “us”, and although couples will often have different points of view or thoughts on things, it is vital for couples to ultimately unite and be on the same page. For example.
I was raised where I had no rules. I could stay out as late as I wanted and pretty much had no adult supervision. My wife on the other hand had a stricter household. We were raised completely different so it is natural we had different views on how to raise our kids. Although we both saw things differently in regards to curfew etc, we agreed that we would be united on things and the kids weren’t going to play us.
So if the kids want to stay out late or go do something out of the norms, we discuss it and make sure we are united and agree on the decision. This is just an example, but having unity in all aspects of your marriage whether it be raising the kids, finances, buying a car or home, whatever it may be is vital to a healthy marriage.
We have all seen couples that seem to have nothing in common yet they have a wonderful relationship. He like’s hamburgers, she hates them. He likes comedies and she likes horror movies. She is very religious and he wants nothing to do with religion. You look at this couple on paper and you think, how in the world do they make it.. and not only make it, but seem happy!
The secret to this is Empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another persons shoes and being able to see the world through their eyes. It means that you care about their well being as much as your own.
For spouses who dont have empathy, even if they agree on 99% percent of the things, that 1% can cause a disaster if they dont have empathy in the relationship.
How can a couple (or person) develop empathy
Empathy is the ability to see things from your spouses standpoint and people that have empathy are great listeners and really care about their spouses thoughts and feelings.
When you are listening to your spouse speak, dont interrupt them and just listen. After they are talking, repeat back what they told you and ask them questions to make sure you are understanding them correctly. This will show them that you are listening and truly care.
For more great resources and tips to help your marriage, check out the Ultimate Intimacy App! It’s FREE to download and so much fun! Find out why over 400,000 couples use the app and it has a 4.8/5 star rating in the App Store! Oh, and did we mention it’s clean? You don’t have to worry about seeing anything you dont want to.