Zack and I have been married for almost four years now so I strongly believe that we’re complete experts on everything marriage-related at this point…totally joking. But I do feel that we’ve built a strong marriage thus far and I’m rather proud of it. Like all couples, we have our issues. We’ve fought on many occasions and unfortunately, we’ve said and done plenty of things that we now regret. It’s normal. But I love coming out of it and being able to look back on those issues knowing we tackled them together. It’s an amazing and empowering feeling to know you’ve built a connection strong enough to take on the world and everything life throws at it.
As I watch other couples go through their hardships and even some breakups, I can’t help but feel so unbelief ably thankful for my own marriage. Marriage is hard work. I know everybody says that, but it’s true. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. In fact, sometimes it even sucks. But in the last few years, I’ve determined that these ten traits are essential to building a strong marriage that lasts.
- Friendship. I believe that all successful marriages are built on friendship. You must build a strong foundation for your marriage and that typically starts off with being friends with your significant other first. Zack is my best friend. He’s the one I want to tell my secrets to. He’s the one I go to first when I have a problem or big news. He’s the one I want cheering me on for all my accomplishments and I want to be the one cheering him on for all of his as well. We laugh together and make fun of one another. He’s my favorite person to binge watch Netflix with at the end of every day. First and foremost, he’s my best friend.
- Trust. I cannot stress enough how important it is to trust your partner. Without it, a relationship just cannot be successful. You can’t spend your days wondering what your spouse is doing or checking their phone every chance you get to see if they’re cheating. If they’ve give you zero VALID reasons not to trust them then give them the benefit of the doubt and trust them!
- Honesty. Trust and honesty go hand in hand. You cannot trust one another if you’re not open and honest with each other in the first place. Don’t give each other a reason not to trust one another.
- Communication. I’ll keep this one short since everyone always says it: communication is crucial to a happy and healthy marriage. It’s important to any type of relationship you have in your life, actually. Be sure to communicate any issues you’re having with your spouse along with any thoughts and feelings you feel he should know. If you two aren’t communicating then it’ll be next to impossible to fix any issues that may arise. Make sure you’re always on the same page!
- Dedication/Commitment. Marry someone who is just as committed to your relationship as you are. Someone who isn’t going to give up when things get tough or when you settle into a “boring” routine. When something is broke, you fix it. If something in your marriage isn’t working then it’s time to find a solution to the problem and move forward. Find someone who is willing to help you fix those problems and is committed to making it all work out.
- Gratitude. Always take time during your day to appreciate the little things that your spouse does. Sure they may not be the cleanest person. It might drive you nuts that their laundry is left in every room of the house or that they leave the bathroom floor wet after their shower. But on the other hand, they might do the dishes for you when they know you’ve had a rough day or they’ll bring you home your favorite soup when you’re sick. No matter how big or small, focus on those good things that they do for you and let them know that you appreciate them. At the end of the day, those good things that they do far outweigh the wet bathroom floor.
- Respect. Respect is so incredibly important in a marriage. You absolutely have to respect one another in order for your marriage to work long term. Never talk down to your partner, never broadcast your marital issues on social media or talk poorly about your spouse to others. Never embarrass them or make them look bad simply because you’re not getting along that day. Mutual respect can go a long way.
- Forgiveness. While this one can be a challenging one at times, it’s good to forgive your spouse for their mistakes. Bigger issues like infidelity is a whole different topic in my mind, but for a good majority of issues, they can almost always be worked through. So forgive quickly and find a way to move on together.
- Intimacy. When I say intimacy, I don’t always mean sex. Although that’s healthy for a marriage as well. But even being able to share your deepest thoughts and feelings with another is so important for a marriage. This goes back to building your marriage off a friendship. Being able to connect with your spouse on all levels will give you a great foundation to build your marriage off of.
- Teamwork. Look at your marriage as being its own team and your partner is your one and only teammate. Did you pick a good teammate? Do you know how to get along and work together to tackle problems rather than against one another? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Zack is on the same team as me. Especially when we disagree on something. But at the end of the day, he’s my husband, my best friend, and the best teammate I could possibly have. We work well together and are good at building each other up and supporting one another which is super important to a happy and healthy marriage.
What do you feel a marriage needs in order to be successful?