What makes a good marriage?

What makes a healthy marriage last?

Anna McElearney
Anna McElearney
Helping Couples Build Stronger Relationships
A resource I think is helpful to learn more about "what makes a good marriage" and steps toward doing so is Dr. John Gottman's book: "Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work." 

Dr. Gottman is a leader in this field and has done extensive studies with couples to determine what behaviors are key in making a marriage work and what behaviors could predict divorce. I think this book might be a good start if you're wanting to learn more about how to have a long lasting relationship. 
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

This is a fantastic question. In one sentence, I would say the following:

  • Recognize that while you and your partner probably have common interests and areas of commonality, you are separate people, each with different wants, wishes, and desires – if you consider a diagram of two overlapping circles, they may share perhaps a third of the circle with overlap to indicate commonality (could be more or less) and then there are parts of the circles that are not overlapping, indicating separate interests

As for ways that may strengthen any relationship, even the great ones, this is what came to mind. There are certainly more specific unique answers or elements for different people as far as the details, but here are some general ideas:

  • Try to have at least 15 minutes a week where you are spending time together and not problem-solving
  • Realize that listening to your partner does not mean that you are agreeing with them, it just means that you are saying that you hear where they are coming from
  • Learn to hold on to your own wants, wishes, and desires while also recognizing those of your partner
  • Set boundaries for what is and isn't acceptable behavior during an argument or difficult discussion
  • Discuss how having important discussions can be anxiety-producing and consider having an understanding that if one of you (or both of you) feels overwhelmed, you can take a timeout for a certain amount of time. For example, you may say "okay, I'm feeling really stressed about this right now. Let's discuss it in an hour." And at that time, go back to the discussion
  • Consider what your partner's top three or four complaints about you may be. Check in with them and see how accurate you are. If you see validity in their responses, consider whether or not you may want to make changes
  • Discover what makes your partner feel loved, valued, appreciated, or special

Relationships are always in progress and constantly changing. Some anxiety around change is typical. Being able to effectively discuss the anxiety and actually listen to one another without being defensive, name calling, finger-pointing, or asking each other to change is a true gift.

You may enjoy this quote: "Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment." ~Brene Brown

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

I appreciate your question.

The answer of what makes a "good marriage" are as varied as there are marriages.

Basically, similarity, like mindedness in beliefs and values, makes a good marriage. 

The best chance of getting along with someone on a longterm basis is when two people see life and the world in similar ways.

Even though "opposites attract" this is a short lived dynamic which breaks apart when there aren't enough similarities in common between the partners.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Earl Lewis
Earl Lewis
Relationship Expert

This answer varies based on you relationship. However, I do believe their are some basic fundamental areas that are beneficial for a healthy marriage:

1.) Effective Communication

2.) Trust

3.) Love/Passion

4.) Loyalty. 

5.) Unconditional Positive Regard. 

Everyone has their favorite qualities they feel best fit a marriage. However, these are what I think are great starting points. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Submit your own question

More Answers