Are there ingredients for marriage that make it successful?
We believe so. Although every marriage is different, there are universal principles that control how relationships work.
A few years ago we lived in Colorado while my wife finished her degree.
Not long after settling in, she decided to make chalupa’s. One of my favorites.
She did everything she normally did when preparing and making the dish, but it never ‘got there.’ The beans didn’t soften. The meat didn’t cook all the way.
We later discovered that things cook different at the high altitude in Colorado. We lived at 6500 ft. Even though the ingredients were the same, the cooking temperature and time was drastically different.
Keep that in mind.
Your relationship may ‘cook’ at a different temperature than someone else. So be patient.
Regardless of how long it takes, the ingredients stay the same.
In This Article
Three More Ingredients That Make Marriage Great
If you want a chocolate cake, you must include chocolate in the ingredients. Same with marriage. The basic rule says, ‘You get out of it what you put into it.’ Most of life works that. It is especially true of marriage relationships.
There are basic ingredients that are required to have a successful marriage. In Part 1 we discussed three ingredients that are necessary for a strong, healthy marriage.
The first three ingredients are:
#3 Emotional Safey
In this article let’s look at the next three ingredients.
When couples first date they tell how they love having fun and even being silly. They do interesting things; they play. Once they start to court each other and move toward marriage they’ll say, “Now we’re in a serious relationship.” Somehow we link commitment to seriousness. The antidote to too much seriousness is play. That is an astute observation. We tend to link commitment to seriousness.– Thriving Marriages
I agree marriage is serious business. That doesn’t mean it is boring. It simply implies that we value it. It’s worth protecting and not taking it for granted.
Successful marriages know how to reclaim play in their relationship.
Plato is credited with saying:
You can discover more about one person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation.
I believe it. This is why play in crucial for couples. It creates intimacy.
Steve Call notes that when we play, we are saying to our spouse: I want to be with you. You matter to me. I choose you!
The Forms of Play
There are many ways to incorporate play into your marriage.
Some couples share a hobby. My wife and I both like to fish. One of us likes it more than the other. Bet you can’t guess which one?
It doesn’t have to be a hobby. Play happens when we let down our guard and enjoy life together. It can come in the form of a joke or a story. My wife and I tell stories all the time. We are word nerds, so it only makes sense. It connects us.Play happens when we let down our guard and enjoy life together. It can come in the form of a joke or a story. Play is important because it connects us. Click To Tweet
We also like to play board games. A few months ago we played Sequence almost every night. No TV, just 70’s music in the background. Occasionally we would stop and sing along, always butchering the lyrics. We usually play until she wins. At least it seemed like it.
My point is play is vital for marriages. Strong relationships have rediscovered how to play.
Focus on the Family Offers These Ideas:
- Let your spouse see your lighthearted side by acting silly.
- Play gentle practical jokes on each other.
- Play card games or board games such as Yahtzee, Scrabble, Monopoly or Jenga.
- Share a funny joke or an amusing story about your day.
- Play video games together. [this is not one I personally recommend because it’s too easy to disconnect from each other]
- Watch a funny TV show or comedy film together. [We try to end our day by watching something funny; although some times we just read]
- Share pet names or private jokes that only you and your spouse understand.
My wife tells me all the time, ‘I don’t know if I could be attracted to someone if they didn’t make me laugh!’
My response? ‘That and the fact that I’m buffed and super sexy as rip, right?’
Then she laughs. I win.
A good sense of humor adds value to your relationship.
Key: There is a difference in laughing with someone and laughing at them.
A sense of humor is a must if your marriage is to survive the pitfalls and setbacks all marriages endure.
Dr. Scott Stanley and Dr. Howard Markman (both relationship experts and researchers) have written a book called, ‘Fighting for Your Marriage.’ (Affiliate Link)
One surprising fact they discovered was the strongest factor that determined a couples level of marriage happiness and satisfaction was the amount of fun a couple experienced together.
In other words, the couples that laughed together had more satisfying marriages.The strongest factor that determine a couples level of marriage happiness and satisfaction is the amount of fun they experienced together. – from the book Fighting for your Marriage Click To Tweet
How Laughter Affects Our Body
Not only is laughing good for your relationship, some studies support the idea that laughter changes us biologically.
According to WebMD laughing offers these benefits:
- It burns calories; get your giggles on if you want lose weight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Gives oxygen to your blood; which gives you energy and clarity of thought
- Reduces stress; laughing actually raises the level of infection fighting antibodies
- Lowers Blood Sugar
- Increases relaxation and sleep
These are just a few of the ways laughter can affect your body.
In this video by Health Chronicle they describe the benefits laughter has on the human body (and more).
I like this quote:
Couples who laugh together are more likely to stay married longer. People who have enduring relationships have also proven to outlive those who have few friends and are unmarried.
Healthy marriages know how to laugh.
It takes time to build a marriage. A wedding can happen in an afternoon. A marriage is built over time.
Think about it. A wedding is as different from marriage as a house is from a home.
You can build a house in a few months. A home takes even more time.
The materials used to build a house are brick, wood, and steel. Those can’t build a home. It takes love, commitment, trust, and host of other things to build a home.
The Reason Time is so Important
The more time we spend with someone, the more we get to know them. The more we know them, the more opportunity we have to demonstrate love, acceptance and forgiveness.
No one is perfect. Yet we all desire the same thing. To be loved. Accepted in spite of our shortcomings. Forgiven when we mess up.
Real love offers these things unconditionally.
This kind of love creates trust and emotional security we discussed earlier.
Time presents the opportunity to offer these things to our spouse.
Time also lets us see behind the curtain. We get to know what makes our spouse tick. What gives them joy, heartache and pleasure. We learn their dreams and desires, and we have an opportunity to enter their world.
You can’t really love someone (not deeply or profoundly) until you know them. Time opens the door of their heart so we can know them.You can’t really love someone (not deeply or profoundly) until you know them. Time opens the door of their heart so we can know them. Click To Tweet
Studies show that the more time we spend with someone, the closer we become.
I’m always fascinated when people say, ‘We met and instantly fell in love.’
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of instant attraction. But it takes time to build love. I’m not saying you can’t love someone immediately. I think you can.
But to love someone deeply requires knowledge. Knowledge of who they are as a person. Their heart. Soul. And mind. If we are honest, it takes time to discover those things.
That’s the beauty of marriage. We get a lifetime to discover the deep things God has placed inside our spouse.
I think that is a privilege. Not a burden.But to love someone deeply requires knowledge. Knowledge of who they are as a person. Their heart. Soul. And mind. If we are honest, it takes time to discover those things. Click To Tweet
Wrapping It Up
A strong marriage requires certain ingredients to make it satisfying. While this is not a complete list of everything needed to have a great relationship, these six ingredients are foundational for a successful marriage.
In these two articles we cover five ingredients necessary for a happy marriage.
A brief recap:
- #4 Play
- #5 Laughter
- #6 Time
If you want to explore these topics in more depth, listed below are a few recommendations.
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.
Magic Relationship Words by Susie and Otto Collins
The Devotion System This free video will show you why men pull away and what you can do to enhance your relationship.