The Soul Connection

What makes a marriage successful

Friends of mine are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary. Their parents are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this year. Marriages that last long and are successful seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Why do some marriages last long, while others don’t? What is the secret? We have asked a number of successful couples what their secret is.

Not giving up

Life is tough and apparently, marriage is even tougher. Some couples have decided that they will bite the bullet and eat the salt. No matter what. The going gets tough, but they stick it out. A divorce is never an option, and they support each other as best they can.

Hard work

Many couples told me that if they knew marriage would be such hard work, they would never have signed up. One must bite one’s tongue, make sacrifices, give the other space, support, time, love, affection, food, care and money. It is a singular dedication, not only to each other but to the concept of unity.

No room for me

Marriage is about being a couple. In every decision taken, it is never about “me”. Successful couples always ask how this “will affect us?” Long and short-term implications are considered, and if it is going to be predominantly bad for the one partner, it is excluded as an option.

Keeping it interesting

Some couples have regular date nights, others have a monthly night out with friends or weekend getaways away from each other. Others take up adventures, sports or hobbies. Some travel together, build puzzles or support a charity. Some spice up their sex lives, or all of the above. Some couples insist on doing everything together while others prefer separate interests. It should be by preference of both parties, and there should be an agreed middle ground that suits both.

Accepting and learning

Most couples said that marriage is about accepting and learning. Starting out, one loves your partner for who they are. There should be nothing you want to change or want to “improve.” But when they do change, as they do, accepting their good parts, and their faults, their mistakes, mishaps and glories, their failures and triumphs is a key to success.

True partnership is a journey of learning about each other, about oneself, about marriage and about life. One should be teachable and open-minded and have an outlook of awe and admiration. To many couples, the journey of experiencing things together, both the good and the bad, and learning from life, from and about each other has made marriage a delightful challenge.

Intimacy

Most couples agreed that intimacy was the deciding factor in the success of their union. Sexual intimacy is important too, but it starts with the sharing of feelings, thoughts and emotions. It doesn’t matter whether the emotions and times are good or bad, the partners must be honest, truthful, vulnerable and be themselves in front of each other. This intimacy is shared only by each other, and a united front should be presented to others. What happens between the two members of the couple, on an intimate and private level, should stay there. It is an intimacy, a circle of truth and of being one’s true self that only your partner is allowed access to.

Being yourself

For many couples, their marriage is the one true place they can be themselves. As an individual and as a couple. Some couples tease and insult each other, others compliment and constantly use endearments.

Laughter

All our couples agreed that laughter was the saving grace in their relationships. The ability to always laugh at and with each other and to see the funny side of things helped through their difficult and smooth times alike.

If you feel free, safe, accepted and protected within your union, you will have true intimacy on all levels. This is permanent and rewarding not only for the partner as an individual but also for your marriage.