Tips for Building a Strong and Healthy Marriage

With an alarming divorce rate that has rapidly escalated during the last half of the 20th century, many couples are part of a growing group focusing on developing a healthy marriage. Research shows that there is a clear link between a healthy marriage and better health for men and women. Children also grow and thrive when the relationship between their parents is strong. What then, are the keys to building a long-lasting, healthy relationship?

It is important to not buy into prevalent marriage myths, such as “Never go to bed angry” or “If we have a big disagreement, our relationship is doomed”. Another common myth is, “Marriage should be a 50/50 relationship”. These myths can build unrealistic expectations. If you ever feel like your relationship is “not going the way it is supposed to”, check to make sure you’re not buying into an idealistic myth about marriage.

According to the latest research, there are three major factors that largely influence marital satisfaction.

ChristyCouple Traits and Interactions include communication and intimacy. Intimacy is a combination of affection, sexual relations, emotional closeness from time spent together and the ability to be open and vulnerable with each other.

  • Individual Traits and Behavior include taking care of our own social, emotional and spiritual needs. Paying attention to personal needs contributes to satisfaction within the marriage.
  • Background and Contexts serve as the foundation for building the other traits. They include everything each partner brings to the marriage, for example: individual backgrounds, values, culture, etc. plus qualities of the marriage itself such as how the partners deal with money issues and in-laws.

Marriages grow and change throughout the relationship. Understanding and practicing the key skills involved in building a marriage can help create a more joyful and fulfilling journey.

For more information about building a healthy and strong marriage, visit SMARTcouples.org.

Adapted from “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Married”, by Victor W. Harris and Ginny Hinton, 2012. http://www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu document FCS2319.

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