How To Have A Happy Marriage
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More than half of all first marriages end in divorce, and 60 percent of second marriages fail. These statistics are overwhelming. With separation statistics this high, it is amazing that people still enter marriage in the first place. There is a steady increase in divorce rates, but the 1970s are when divorce became statistically prevalent.
Since each couple is unique, having a happy marriage is dependent on the individual and the relationship between the couples. However, there are commonalities in couples that report being happy in their marriage, as well as commonalities in couples reporting lack of happiness in their marriage. Having a happy marriage takes work, effort and nurturing throughout the duration of the marriage. It is not something you can neglect. To have a healthy and happy relationship in your marriage starts with a solid foundation that is constantly built upon.
Why do so many marriages fail?
1. The desire to change the other person. There are many people who hope that their spouse will change after marriage. Maybe their spouse is immature or lacks responsibility before the marriage. There may be the hope that the person will change or that you can change your spouse. This creates tension in the marriage right from the start. Marriage is not the platform from which to change another person. Rather, marriage is about accepting the person and being with as the person grows.
2. Communication problems. While we all know how to talk, but communicating is different. There are staggering numbers of people who do not know how to communicate effectively. Communication involves actively listening and fair fighting. The saying, “Communication is a 2 way street” still holds true in a marriage.
3. Loss of intimacy. Between the demands of work, home, your spouse and children, there may be lack of energy or desire for intimacy. Intimacy is a large part of a marriage - It is what keeps the spark in the relationship. It keeps the couple connected physically and emotionally, so when there is a loss of intimacy, there is a loss of connection.
4. Financial Issues. The number one fight between couples is over money, but the relationship and value of money varies by each person - It is an unique experience for each person. When two people who marry have different values, conflict over money is probable.
5. Taking the other for granted. Over time, the small acts of affection, “thank you”, “I love you”, etc seem to fade. Each spouse takes the other one for granted. This lack of affection or gratitude decreases the persons sense of self worth within the relationship. So, what makes a marriage work? Decades worth of research has attempted to pinpoint what, exactly, makes a couple happy. Scientists have done multiple research studies trying to identify exactly what makes a marriage work.
What Makes A Marriage Work?
1. Ability to Communicate. Researchers at Brigham Young University identified that people who talk out issues over phone or face to face have better relationships and overall happiness than those who work our problems or concerns through text.
2. Ability to make each other a priority. When 2 people enter a marriage, they have hopes and expectations that each will make the other a priority. Having children often changes that view and children become the priority over the spouse. Given this perspective, it would make sense why in one study in a 2014 Open University study of 5,000 people of all ages in long-term relationships found that childless married and unmarried couples were happiest.
3. Birth order couples. The best pairing for a successful marriage is a first-born and a last-born. Studies have indicated that when a youngest and oldest child marry, there is one person who tends to be the care taker and the other who enjoys or needs the care taking.
4. Partners in the household: Financial and daily repsonsibilities. Both partners contributing equally to the household financially and in day to day responsibility has a strong bearing on success of a marriage. According to a 3 year study by UCLA, “Those who agree to share household chores and have an understanding of each person’s responsibilities felt more satisfied in their relationships. This makes sense with the increase in both partners working and trying to manage work, home, family, and finances.
5. Couples who are similar. Couples who were similar in values and traits tended to be happier than couples with many variances. The saying, “opposites attract” is still true, however, happy marriages had more in common between the couples than differences.
- Kim B.