A long lasting relationship is the goal of every couple that marries. Are there keys to help you create a lasting bond? What are the reasons behind long lasting marriages? We identify 13 ingredients in couples who passed the test of time in marriage.
I first met Pete and Renee when they were newly weds. Well, sort of. They had only been married for several years. Even then I recognized a unique quality about their relationship. They seemed to truly enjoy one another.
A lot of couples express love. Pete and Renee demonstrated enjoyment. That’s unique.
They recently celebrated their 35th anniversary. At a party given to them by their children, Pete talked about how much he enjoyed his relationship with Renee. There it was again: enjoyment.
In his words, ‘We are happier than we’ve ever been!’
I believed him.
What makes a marriage happy? Better yet, what makes one happy that lasts a lifetime? It’s easy to start something. The ‘win’ is making finishing. Making it last.
Most couples want a marriage that happy and fulfilling. No one enters marriage planning on divorce. So what are the qualities that make up a successful, long lasting relationship.
We’ve identified several keys that reveal how to have a long lasting marriage:
How To Have A Long Lasting Marriage
Want a successful marriage? Good. It’s not as hard as you think.
Most couples approach the goal of making their marriage better with a defeated mentality. They assume their spouse is stubborn and unwilling to change, contribute, or play fair. Starting with this belief is sure to lead to failure.
The first, and perhaps most important, aspect of creating a great relationship is to what you think about your marriage. Your beliefs and perspective about your spouse is the number one factor that will determine if you succeed or not.
Get the right mindset and you can overcome any problem, situation, or set-back. Have the wrong belief and no matter what you do, it will go sideways at some point. Never underestimate the power of your beliefs and frame of mind concerning your spouse.
Now that you are on the right track and have a positive outlook about your marriage, what are the reasons happy couples last and have great marriages?
The list is endless. There is no magic bullet that makes a marriage work; there are many factors that go into a great relationship.
Ingredients of a Successful Relationship
It’s like making a cake. There are basic ingredients in almost all cakes. Flour, sugar, milk, eggs, etc. I’m actually just taking a stab at this. I’m not the cook in our family. My wife is. But I’m a great helper. My wife calls me her ‘chopper’ because I can chop veggies, nuts, and other ingredients.
Anyway, back to my analogy:
Every cake is different. A coconut cake (my favorite) doesn’t have all the same ingredients as a chocolate cake. A fruitcake is even different from those two. It takes special added ingredients to make a specific type of cake.
However, all cakes have a few things in common. I mentioned flour, sugar, and few other ingredients. Chances are, every cake will have these (or similar substitutes) in order for the cake to be a cake. These are the basic ‘things’ that make a cake what it is. Make sense? Good.
Why am I telling you this? It relates to marriage. Each marriage will look different. Your dance (that’s what my wife calls how a couple flows together in relationship) with your partner will be different than mine.
There are, however, basic things every good marriage has in common. These are the root (basic) ingredients. If you have these in place, you will create a strong relationship that will last. Miss them, and it could spell disaster for you.
What Is the Secret to a Happy Long Lasting Marriage?
Below we list a few of the basic ingredients that create a strong, healthy marriage.
We’ve identified 13 keys that reveal how to have a long lasting marriage:
1. They Work On Your Relationship Daily
You can’t just expect your marriage to last forever if you don’t work at it everyday. By work on your relationship, we’re not referring to the amount of time you spend together. It’s about what you do with that time when you are together.
The key to a successful marriage is building a strong foundation. A solid foundation is created through discussions about your goals and dreams, values, and desires for your future. Your relationship needs to be nurtured daily by working together as a team on achieving these goals and dreams.
2. They Share Financial Goals and Money Personality
Money can certainly cause many arguments in a marriage that can be hard to overcome. You need to determine if how you earn money and where it goes will be an issue in your relationships before you get married.
How do you want to handle the finances? Will you both contribute an equal amount and just split it down the middle? Do you have a set spending limit on fun activities each month? Does one of you like to spend and the other likes to save? How will this be handled in your marriage?
3. They Give Respect and Appreciation
There’s little that makes a relationship better than mutual respect for each other. If one spouse is always disrespected by their partner, resentment will build overtime leading to bigger problems later.
One way to do this is to compliment your partner frequently. We all like to be told how great we are. It helps us feel valued. Another way is to create time each week where the two of you can honor each other’s accomplishments and goals. These are just a few ways you can respect your partner and strengthen your relationship.
4. They Spend Quantity Time Together
Do you both know what quality time means? If not, it’s time spent together doing something that both enjoy doing for fun or pursuing a goal in the marriage that has been agreed upon by both partners.
Always remember to not let your busy schedule and stress interfere with your relationship. Spend the quality and quantity time necessary for the success of your marriage. Your future happiness will depend on it!
5. They Spend Quantity Time Together
Read that statement carefully. Note the word ‘quantity.’ We always hear about spending quality time together as couple. I think quality time can be deceptive. How do you measure quality over non-quality time?
We get so focused on quality that we forget it’s about TIME. Time together is essential to connect. Think about it, how do you connect if you aren’t together?
For great marriages, couples need to spend time doing activities together that they enjoy doing. It’s good to have some alone time as well.
6. They Protect Their Integrity
Integrity is something that you can lose fast. When you are married to someone for a lifetime, your reputation and integrity is an important part of the relationship.
7. They Develop and Ensure Safety in Communication
When you communicate, it’s not only important to develop the skill, but ensure that both parties feel safe about how they communicate with one another. Unfortunately, there are some situations where people hide hurtful feelings inside and don’t share them with their spouse for fear they will be judged, ignored or dumped. Although it may seem scary to open up about your true emotions with someone else, the alternative can be worse in the long run.
8. They Nurture Each Others Personal Growth
Healthy marriages aren’t self-absorbed. They look outward as much as they look inward. In other words, they help and inspire each other to grow personally.
Marriages in which both partners encourage personal growth in one another have shown better chances of being successful in the long run.
9. They Have Fun Together
If your marriage isn’t fun, what is the point in being married? You ought to be able to enjoy the time you spend together. So what do you like doing? What things would you like to do together in the future?
Your relationship doesn’t have to just be about working on goals and solving problems. It should be full of fun and laughter as well.
10. They Face Their Problems Together
Partners who don’t face their problems together build resentment towards each other which can lead to bigger issues down the road. Ask questions of each other, but don’t pry or interrogate one another when it comes to personal affairs unless given permission or invited to help solve a problem.
11. They Make Connecting a Priority
They refuse to let other things interfer with regular connection and communication.
Sexual intimacy is just as important as communication in a relationship. Without it, your relationship will suffer and you’ll likely to be unhappy. If you want a better marriage, honor the word that was given in marriage and make sexual intimacy a priority.
All of these things can make or break your marriage in the long run. You should try to implement all of them into your marriage if possible. The best thing you can do for yourself is to sustain a healthy lifestyle for your mind, body and spirit in order for you to have the energy needed to do daily activities that will benefit your relationship.
12. They Remember Their Story
Couples in long term relationships have positive thoughts and memories of how they met and why they got together.
Dr. James Ponzetti studied 124 couples to discover keys that made their marriage last. He found that couples who experienced a positive ‘story’ of their beginnings were more apt to work through turbulent times.
[Couples] were able to highlight the positive reasons that led them to marry. The marriage is justified and feelings of happiness and positive recollections flood the couple. Additionally, these stories help highlight that although a couple may be experiencing turbulence, their relationship is more than just what is happening currently. A relationship history can offer long-forgotten reasons for why the relationship is worth fighting for or saving. Furthermore, every relationship has survived tough times. Many times, relationship beginnings have stories of successes and triumphs that have become buried in piles of countless arguments, petty differences and negative feelings.
13. They Chose to Break the Mold
We all have negative family traits and models that can cause us problems in our marriage. Healthy couples recognize these traits for what they are, but refuse to allow them to control or determine their future.
For example, just because your parents divorced doesn’t mean you will divorce. Strong couples use the past to ensure they will not repeat it.
Roberta L. I. Magarrell and Dean E. Barley call these people ‘transitional persons.’
Transitional persons believe in their autonomy and feel empowered to change their own lives in significant ways,…and they act on their plans.
They are able to transition from the past to the present without getting bogged down and defeated.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Happy, Long Lasting Marriage
At the end of the day, the decision to have a happy marriage is up to both partners. You have to decide if you are willing to give your marriage 100% of your effort and energy because that’s what it takes in order to make it last.
For a relationship to succeed, it’s imperative that you set goals together. Envision what you want your life together to look like in 5 years and 10 years from now and work every day towards making those goals come true. Let go of old baggage that no longer serves you and be open about any problem areas in your relationship that need improving.
Above all else, never give up on each other as people can change for the good if they want to badly enough.
A recap of the 13 essential ingredients in a long lasting relationship.
- 1. They Work On Your Relationship Daily
- 2. They Share Financial Goals and Money Personality
- 3. They Give Respect and Appreciation
- 4. They Spend Quantity Time Together
- 5. They Spend Quantity Time Together
- 6. They Protect Their Integrity
- 7. They Develop and Ensure Safety in Communication
- 8. They Nurture Each Others Personal Growth
- 9. They Have Fun Together
- 10. They Face Their Problems Together
- 11. They Make Connecting a Priority
- 12. They Remember Their Story
- 13. They Chose to Break the Mold
To get more help creating the marriage you desire and deserve, check out these resources:
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.
The Healthy Marriage Toolkit
Books, Courses, Programs and Tools designed to help you create the marriage of your dreams.
Five Simple Steps Marriage Course
Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. In this 5 part mini series you’ll discover practical steps to redesign your marriage.
Healthy Marriage Courses
Our courses will help you build a strong marriage. Each course is designed to meet a specific relationship need.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.