May 14, 2021

Twelves Characteristics of Successful Marriage

By Natalia Walcott

Every married couple remembers their honeymoon phase after their wedding. It probably involved frequent sex, lots of love and affection for each other, and a lack of arguments. However, once the honeymoon ends and life starts to settle in, you realize that marriage is not always going to be a fairy tale. Marriage takes a lot of hard work from both spouses. Sharing your life with someone else can be a big challenge but also offers many rewards. Here are twelve characteristics of successful marriages.

1. Communication

Having good communication with your spouse is one of the most important things in a marriage. If you and your spouse have poor communication, you might have noticed that there is some trouble in paradise. Once you and your spouse start confronting each other with anger, tension, and hostility, it will cause communication to fail and a lack of listening and understanding to occur. However, not all communication is good communication – and not all disagreements are bad. In fact, one of the most damaging patterns of communication that couples get stuck in is a pursue-withdraw pattern, where one partner pushes for change or attention and the other partner withdraws or avoids discussing the issue. Being able to respectfully and effectively relay your feelings to your spouse without placing blame upon them is key.

2. Admiration and Respect

Everyone wants to be respected and appreciated for who they are – especially by their spouse. Having support from your spouse means everything. Try to support your spouse’s achievements, help build up their self-esteem, and fulfill their emotional needs. Make sure you respect their individual differences as much as you respect their similarities to you; after all, differences can be sources of excitement and novelty in a relationship.

3. Companionship

Make sure that both of you are making time for each other. Spend some quality time enjoying each other’s company by doing activities together that you both enjoy. If you want more ideas on fun things you can do, read this post. However, also take some time apart and hang out with other friends. Having space from your spouse and doing your own thing will make those special date nights together feel even more meaningful.

4. Spirituality and Values

Having a shared sense of spirituality and values can be helpful in a marriage. Your faith can give you emotional, social, and spiritual support. Places of religious worship can be a source of friendships and activities for the couple to do together. Turning to your faith in times of hardship has offered spouses guidance in making important decisions regarding their marriage.

5. Commitment

In order to make the marriage work, you both must be committed to each other. Marital sustainment is more attainable if the commitment is mutual. Marriage is not easy. It has its ups and downs, and in order to overcome those obstacles, a certain level of effort is required. If you have kids involved, commit to keeping the family together by putting in effort with your relationship with your spouse.

6. Affection

Make sure you are showing your spouse affection, whether that be mentally or physically. You should know their love language by now (if not, click here to check out one of our earlier posts on this topic). Whether it be words of affirmation of or physical touch, make sure you fulfill your spouses need for affection and intimacy. Don’t forget to make time to have sex with your spouse. Meet each other’s sexual needs and try to spice things up from the usual bedroom routine (if you’re looking for some ideas, we wrote an earlier post on this too).

7. Ability to Deal with Crises and Stress

Nobody goes through life without facing some challenges. When you said, “I do,” you signed up to be there for your spouse “for better or for worse.” What sets spouses apart is how they can resolve their problems and manage stress in a constructive way. Whether you are faced with a personal issue or an issue as a couple, you should address it with your spouse in a healthy way. Work on having a greater tolerance with frustration and dealing with your anger. If necessary, take some space in order to process the crisis and stress. Try to not transfer your anger onto your partner. Remember that you both are a team and need to work together to fix your problems.

8. Responsibility

You both need to be able to take accountability for your roles and actions in the relationship, as well as your actions. In order for your marriage to be successful, make sure you are fair (which doesn’t necessarily mean equal) in how you divide responsibilities between you and your spouse. Putting most of the responsibilities onto your spouse – especially if you’re not taking on the majority of other types of responsibilities – will likely lead to them feeling overworked and underappreciated.

9. Compassion

There is no room for selfishness in a marriage. You cannot give 25% into your marriage yet expect 100% from your spouse. You both need to make it a priority to unselfishly attend to your partner’s needs as well as your own. Try to focus on “we” more than “I” or “you” – you’re a team and sometimes will need to put the needs of the team first.

10. Empathy and Sensitivity

As a spouse, you need to be able to identify with your spouse’s feelings, thoughts, and attitudes. Being able to listen to your partner confide in you, verbally express your support for them, and show how much you empathize with their feelings and emotions is necessary in having a successful marriage. There is a lot of evidence suggesting that emotional intimacy grows through the process of one person sharing vulnerable emotions with their partner and having their partner support them. So, try to share with your partner – and attend to them when they’re sharing with you. Those are really important moments. You don’t want to miss them.

11. Honesty, Trust, and Fidelity

Having the ability to trust your spouse without hesitation is one of the best feelings. You know that when they say they will do something; they will follow through with it. Knowing that your spouse is dependable and faithful to you creates peace and satisfaction in your marriage. Once trust is broken, it can be hard to build it back up. However, do not lose hope if that is the case for your marriage. Displaying remorse and making an effort to show your spouse that you care about them and want the marriage to work is a good first step in building back the trust. For more tips, read this post.

12. Adaptability, Flexibility, and Tolerance

You and your spouse are likely not the same people that you were on your wedding day. As your marriage has progressed, the dynamics of it may have changed, and you must be able to adapt to these changes. Embrace who you and your spouse have become and continue building from there. Along those same lines, accept that the two of you will disagree sometimes – your different people after all! It is important to not adopt a “my way or the highway” type of approach. Being able to talk it out and come to a compromise is important.

We know that it’s a tall order. Relationships are complex and can feel like a lot of work sometimes. But research shows that having a happy relationship is also one of the most important things we can do to have an overall happy life. So, it’s worth the effort!


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