Open Mic: Marriage Secrets…

What really makes marriage work?

We newlyweds and single people have a lot of bright ideas about what elements are necessary to have a long-term happy union…but are those the things that really matter? In today’s very self-centered society it’s so easy to think about me-me-me and forget that once you get married you are a part of a team. It stops being all about you and you have to start thinking about what’s best for the both of you. Things like not saying everything you really want to say when you’re angry, thinking about how you both can make life better for one another, and just realizing that decisions aren’t made solo any more. It’s a tough transition from me to we.

I came across this Reader’s Digest piece that shares some fun quotes from long-term happily married couples regarding what makes it work for them.  Pretty fun to ponder….

“We made a pact to never fight about money. Financial problems lead to divorce. We didn’t want our relationship to deteriorate over something as inconsequential as money. We’ve been through financial ups and downs, including bouts of unemployment and significant credit-card debt. But we never cast blame and remain calm during financial discussions.”–Lisa and Brian celebrate 12 years in June.

“Always find things to laugh about. Laugh together. Times are tough. Tragedy happens in all families. Things will go wrong. But if you find ways to laugh about “it” you’ll form a special bond and can overcome anything!”Dawn has been married to Tony for 32 years (San Francisco, CA).

“Couples should have separate bathrooms. It’s not a luxury to have one place in the house that you don’t share. Forty-five years of hearing your partner gurgle his way through the theme song to Bill Dance’s fishing show is guaranteed to start you off in a bad mood. There’s nothing romantic about watching your hubby dearest attack the hairs in his ears or yank out an offending nose hair. His scream is guaranteed to send chills down your spine, and put off your hunger for that yummy meal he’s cleaning up for.”Connie has been married to Fred for 44 years (Bellevue, NE).

“Remember: Women want to be loved and cherished. Men want to feel respected….even more than they want to feel loved. This may sound odd but it’s true. Don’t emasculate your man. Don’t take your woman for granted. Life gets messy, boring and stressful. Your marriage will have seasons when it’s stronger or when it feels anemic. Whatever you did in the early days that made you laugh together, make time to do those same things after 10, 20 or 30 years. Read to each other from a favorite funny book. Watch a favorite funny movie.”–Judy has been married to Jeff for 22 years.

“Divorce is not an option – not to be thought about, said aloud, considered as an answer to a problem. Almost all problems are short-term. Divorce is a long-term answer. And if money becomes an issue, get counseling immediately.  It’s not the green stuff, it’s the values that generate issues and cause arguments.”Charlene has been married to Rick for 18 years (Georgetown, IN).

“What is most important for a long-term marriage is knowing yourself before you marry.”–Nancy has been married to Don for 16 years (Temecula, CA).

“Share a common dream. When couples have that, every bump in the road is on the way to somewhere that matters. Without the dream, every bump in the road is a mountain to climb over. Finding your dharma, or what your unique service is to the planet, creating a larger context of meaning in life, puts the little stuff in perspective and makes it easy to process.”–Lanny has been married to Christine for 23 years (Albuquerque, NM).

So, given all this…what do you think will be the toughest thing for you to adjust to in marriage? If you’re already married, what do think you could do to make your relationship better?

Photo credit: M. Keefe’s Flickr photostream


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Categories: Marriage


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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6 Comments on “Open Mic: Marriage Secrets…”

  1. trennasue
    December 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    So, perhaps I should read this every morning as a reminder!

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:00 am #

      I hope you do! 🙂 I personally love hearing these quirky stories of couples that have been together a long time. It really puts things into perspective.

  2. December 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Even though I am single, there is nothing wrong about preparing for a long lasting relationship. When my Prince Charmin comes into my life I will be ready!

    The crazy thing is that I was having a conversation the other day about what it takes to have a lasting relationship and suggestions 4, 5, and 6 came up!

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:03 am #

      I think that’s the crux of it, Emmy. Most people don’t think about how to prepare for a great relationship – they may focus on working out, date clothes or whitening their teeth…but what about working on the real you, having realistic expectations and a strong sense of self?

  3. December 5, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    He needs to put the toilet seat down so I don’t fall in when I pee at 3 am! I am only kidding but compassion, kindness, trust and humor have gotten us through 6 kids and 25 years that we can call ‘very happy’.

  4. December 8, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    As a wedding professional, one thing I was very careful about when my husband and I got engaged was to make the marriage the important thing – not the wedding. A lot of women get so focused on the “event” that they forget to stay emotionally in touch with their fiance during the year of engagement. I think that’s the undoing of a lot of couples – the details of planning can make a man’s eyes glaze over and put distance between a couple at a formative point in their relationship. The wedding lasts a day – the marriage should last a lifetime – if you do it right 🙂

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