A good marriage starts with a spark that grows with careful attention to its needs. The following essential ingredients have been an important part of our almost 10 year love-ship.

Couple having coffee together outdoors

5 essential ingredients for a long, happy marriage

1. Always hold hands — even when you’re at odds with each other

I remember the exhilaration I felt the first time my husband and I held hands. This simple gesture confirmed he loved me as much as I loved him.

After almost 30 years of marriage, we’re still holding hands. I love my husband more than the day we married and can’t imagine not having his hand in mine — in the car, during walks, watching a movie, when we pray, shopping and when and wherever we are.

Hold your spouse’s hand. It’ll warm your hearts.

2. Love/Commitment. :
At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. It is far more than a fleeting emotion as portrayed on television, the big screen, and romance novels. Feelings come and go, but a true decision to be committed lasts forever – and that is what defines true love. It is a decision to be committed through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. When things are going well, commitment is easy. But true love is displayed by remaining committed even through the trials of life.

3. Be a Partner in Good as Well as in Bad :

Our partners provide us with support when we are struggling. This support is in fact one of the biggest benefits of marriage. But often this is all marriage becomes. Partners share bad times but not good times. Partners who respond enthusiastically to each others successes by asking questions, paying compliments, and offering encouragement, experience greater relationship satisfaction over time. A relationship can truly thrive if a couple finds the ability to capitalize on and benefit from focus on positive events in each others lives. When something good happens to your partner, seize the opportunity to make the most of it. Revel in it and be a partner in that moment as much as you would be a partner to them if something bad had happened in their life.

4. Putting Your Partner First :

Happy marriages are based on what I like to call a “win-win” formula. This is because both partner’s put the other person’s needs first. This is actually very easy to do, all it really takes are a few daily acts of kindness. For example:

Do favours for your spouse
Express warm greetings
Help out
Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings
Avoid anger at all costs
Be concerned about the emotional and physical wellbeing of your partner
…and many more!

When your partner feels that he or she is your main priority, they will automatically feel loved, cared for, and respected. When these little acts of kindness are repeated daily, week after week, they create an emotional closeness that becomes the very fabric of a relationship.

Hopefully your marriage is a happy and healthy one, but if it is not, don’t be afraid to seek help from an outside source. Sometimes all it takes is a third party to help you get your priorities straight and enhance your relationship. If ever you feel that you need help sorting out conflicts in your marriage or family, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I am always here to help.

5. Selflessness :

Although it will never show up on any survey, more marriages are broken up by selfishness than any other reason. Surveys blame it on finances, lack of commitment, infidelity, or incompatibility, but the root cause for most of these reasons is selfishness. A selfish person is committed only to himself or herself, shows little patience, and never learns how to be a successful spouse. Give your hopes, dreams, and life to your partner. And begin to live life together.