7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

This month my in-laws will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary. That’s a big feat, considering that half of most marriages today end in divorce! On August 22, Michael and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary which certainly is not as long as my in-laws, but we are getting there!

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Therefore, although I do not consider myself an expert or anything, I thought I would share our “secrets” for a happy marriage. Of course, these aren’t really secrets at all, but they have helped us through the ups and downs that inevitably all couples face.

1. Pray Together. Living a faith-filled life together is the most important foundation to a happy marriage, and the foundation for a life of faith is prayer. It is not always possible to pray together. I know that from experience. Life gets busy, and with my husband being a truck driver, praying together can be a real challenge. We just do the best we can, and at the very least, we go to Mass together when he is home.

2. Pray for each other. It is not enough to pray together. Don’t forget to pray for your spouse, too! If he works outside the home, you never know how your prayers may support him in his daily struggles. I’m convinced that my prayers are helping to keep my husband safe on the road with all the driving he does!

3. Look at the positive. It can be way too easy, especially after you have been married for a while, to start criticizing your spouse, nagging or nitpicking over little things. I know that I am guilty of this, especially during certain times of the month. AHEM! To counterbalance this tendency, I try to make a point of listing at least two or three positive things about my husband. Some days are harder than others, but when I do this, it helps me get a better perspective about whatever it is I am griping about.

3B. To piggyback on #3, I want to encourage you not to bash your husbands in public. It is one thing to discuss marriage problems or situations with a friend or family member that you trust and confide in. It is a whole other beast if you trash your husband with a bunch of girlfriends during a gossip session. Nothing good can come from that. It breeds bad blood and only causes more trouble than good. Instead, try to avoid speaking negatively about your spouse in public. If things are that bad, I urge you to consult a priest or marriage counselor.

4. Forgive each other. As you know, no one is perfect. We all do and say things that hurt our husbands, as they do to us. Most of the time, though, the infractions are inadvertent. Someone is in a bad mood or had a rough day or not feeling well, and he or she takes it out on the other. Or, there is a breakdown in communication leading to fights about finances or chores or whatever. That’s why it is so important to forgive each other. If we don’t, those seemingly little things can build up into something very big, and potentially blow up in your face!

5. Communicate often. Communication, in my opinion, is the hardest part of marriage; and yet, it is so important. It is important to communicate small things, so that there is order, and to keep everyone on the same page. But it is equally important to communicate about big things. Oftentimes, before couples get married, they share their dreams, hopes, and fears. Sometimes those conversations end after couples are married for a while. But, they are even more important during marriage. True communication is important for fostering a connection with each other.

If you are your spouse struggle with communication, you are not alone. My “thing” is writing. It is so much easier for me to write how I feel or what’s in my heart, and so terribly difficult to speak those same feelings. If you have to, take the time to write letters to each other once in a while, and share what is in your heart. But, if you can verbalize your feelings, and learn to communicate effectively, it can bring your marriage to a whole other level of love, trust and connection.

6. Spend time together. Seems like a  no-brainer, but with different schedules, and children’s activities, and work and other obligations, I’m sure you know some couples (or even you and your husband) who can go days without seeing each other, let alone spending time together. My husband is on the road a lot, so I can go up to almost two weeks without seeing my husband. It is hard, and when he is home, he either has a short time to get some things done, or he is so exhausted, all he wants to do is crash on the couch. But relationships don’t last if they are neglected. They take work, and I encourage you to find creative ways to spend time with each other, instead of living separate lives.

7. Make love often. The Catholic Church has a reputation for being a “kill-joy” and “prudish” for restricting sex for marriage. The Church doesn’t restrict sex until marriage to hurt us, but to help us. Sex is a sacred and holy act, meant to be shared between a husband and wife. Within the context of marriage, sex is a beautiful, and fun, thing! Unfortunately, just like everything else, after a couple has been marriage for a while, sex can become routine, and  just another thing to do, or for some women, something to avoid. Please try not to let that happen. Try and find ways to keep that spark alive (barring any health issues).

Now it’s your turn. What are your “secrets” for a happy marriage? Please do share in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Carol, that was good, sound advice!

  2. I agree with you. My husband and I are coming up on our 27th anniversary. We have had some difficult times including 2 tours in Iraq with the Army and the most challenging so far is dealing with a prodigal son. Though we may not always agree on how to deal with difficult situations we try to always work together and find Biblical solutions. Marriage is hard work sometimes and great fun other times.

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thank you, Nancy. You are so right about marriage being hard work. Many time is is harder than any outside “job” for sure.

  3. For any successful relationship you should be able to make your partner happy. This is a naked truth which no one can deny.

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