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Let’s be honest – marriage can be a wonderful experience, but anyone who has made their way out of the honeymoon phase has had a taste of reality,  can attest that marriage takes patience and work! Then of course there are times when we think we have finally figured out how to have a successful marriage and then another baby comes along, a child turns into a teenager, or we become empty nesters – life keeps moving us in different directions and the marriage has to adapt.

So, what makes a successful marriage and how can we build a strong foundation for our marriage?  Below are ten characteristics found in a successful marriages that may help you in your journey.

Ten Characteristics of Successful Marriages:

1. Commitment: Divorce is not considered an option

2. Common Interests: Shared values and interests in: children, work, travel, goals, dependability and the desire to work together

3. Communication: Openness about opinions and feelings (self-disclosure) where couples are willing to interact, trust and share

4. Religiousity (high levels of religious commitment): A strong religious orientation provided couple with social, spiritual and emotional support

5. Trust: Provided a stable foundation for security in marriage

6. Finances and Work: Being non-materialistic – valuing family and marriage over the accumulation of material goods. Practicing financial self-control and not spending beyond their means

7. Role Models: Good marriages beget good marriages. Growing up in a happy parental marriage helped create good marriages for children

8. Virtues: Individuals who develop good character make better husbands and wives, mother  and fathers

9. Low Stress Levels: Low stress levels in one’s life are associated with marital quality

10. Sexual Desire: Sexual desire for one’s spouse expressed consistently through the life course

(“Themes of Long-Term, Satisfied Marriages Consummate Between 1952-1967” by S. Billingsley, M.Lim and G. Jennings.)


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