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Want a Successful Marriage?

So you want to have a successful marriage? Sure, we all do. But statistics tell us that the chances are pretty good that you'll fail. And the fact is that many married folks aren't willing to do the things necessary to have a stronger relationship.

What are the essential qualities of a successful marriage that will stand the test of time?

1. Be a Blame-Free Zone

An interesting thing happens when you blame your spouse. You actually get more of the very behavior that you say you dislike. When I blame my wife, she's quite aware that I'm blaming her. What does she naturally do? She blames me back!

I see her as the problem, and she sees me the same way. All over the country, there are couples blaming each other and feeling justified in doing it. Sadly, millions feel that being “right” is more important than the health of their marriage.

Blaming your spouse has never worked and never will. There are certainly times that you can be angry with your spouse, but carrying around blame and resentment will kill your chances for long-term success.

2. Commitment as a daily ritual

Commitment can't just be a word you used on your wedding day. Commitment can be the use of specific acts that are done on a daily basis. Commitment can be an enthusiastic welcome at the door every night, daily acknowledgements, or spending free time with your spouse.

Commitment is shown in everyday acts that are repeated over and over. When these acts are forgotten or neglected, they need to be re-visited and started again. Bored? Then do it differently, change the ritual, or just get over it! Your boredom often speaks to your inability to find depth and meaning in everyday life—and your ability to handle a long-term relationship.

3. Use the “Five to One Rule”

For every scornful look, sarcastic comment, or criticism, there should be five positive acts or interactions--a hug, a wink, or a compliment.

In the research for his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman Ph.D. found that if there were at least five positive acts for every negative one, the marriage was very likely to succeed. In fact, it didn't matter if the negative interactions were quite hostile, as long as the positive interactions took place.

Successful marriages need a steady dose of kind acts and thoughts. When you provide these to your spouse, your capacity for kindness grows along with it.

So take stock of your marriage. Are there any aspects of it that you'd like to change?

A little knowledge and a little effort can go a long way.

About the Author

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches men to be better fathers and husbands. He is the author of “25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers”

also see in Home Life -> Family Relationships | Marriage Counseling

More about making marriages stronger around the Web:

Success of a Marriage - Psychology Today

Ten Secrets to a Successful Marriage


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