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A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I walked into a local Plantation restaurant for lunch. At this restaurant, you walk up to the counter and order your food. A friendly young lady greeted us with a smile and the usual question of, “What would you like to order?” As she was taking our order, she shared that she was thinking about getting married soon and she wanted to know, “What makes a happy marriage?” She was asking us because she was observing a couple who looked like they have a happy marriage. What she did not know was that not only was she asking a person in a happy marriage but one who works with couples on finding ways to improve their marriage. Well on the spot, I answered communication, friendship, trust, respect and patience. Later that day, I realized that the question asked at lunch would make a great topic for my next blog. So I would like to dedicate this blog to the curious young lady at the counter and everyone else who is thinking about getting engaged, engaged and/or married and still wondering… What makes a happy marriage?

Communication is a key element in a successfully happy marriage. Are you able to express your feelings? Is your spouse a good listener? Are you a good listener? Do you both listen without judgment? Strong communication skills between spouses are an excellent way to keep your marriage on the right track.

Conflict resolution is something that needs to be handled in a healthy manner. At times you will disagree as it is unrealistic to think that you will agree on everything. How you resolve conflicts as they arise is what matters. Do you settle disputes peacefully, calming down and then discussing the hot topic? Do you think before you speak? Are you careful not to blurt out the casual cutting remark? Once the words are spoken it is difficult to take them back. Remember, disagreements happen but they should not lead to hurtful arguments. Conflicts can be handled in a positive way and the result will strengthen your relationship.

Realistic expectations are very important in a happy marriage. Having an idealistic view of what you think a partner should be like and/or do might lead to disappointment. Focus on your spouse’s positive qualities and the positive aspects of your marriage. Keep in mind that your spouse is not a mind reader and might not know what your needs are all of the time. Be open and share what is on your mind. This way your spouse has a clear idea of what is important to you and it opens the door for an opportunity to fulfill those desires.

A strong sense of friendship is the foundation of a happy marriage. Both spouses should be familiar with each other’s world, support each other through the good and bad, know each other’s goals, hopes, worries, and enjoy each other’s company. A genuine friendship will be the cornerstone that shapes your relationship.

Affection from the one you love can make you smile. Keep the romance alive by flirting with each other. Kiss a lot, as happy couples kiss often. Hugging and cuddling are also great ways to show your affection.

How you balance your time plays an important role in a happy marriage. Togetherness should be a priority as this is a way to nurture your relationship. Enjoying each other’s company is a big key to marital bliss. Also sprinkle into the mix some alone time, activities with friends and spending some quality family time along with work and taking care of the house.

Appreciation and gratitude go a long way in a marriage. Do not take each other for granted. Appreciate the little things as well as the big ones. Express your appreciation verbally or nonverbally so your spouse is aware that you notice all of the things they do.

Trust is a vital component of a happy marriage. It is very important to feel that you trust your spouse and for your spouse to feel that they can trust you. It provides comfort if you both know you can count on each other.

Respecting ourselves, our partner and our commitment to marriage is another key to happiness. If you respect each other’s thoughts, opinions, feelings and need for growth, you will have an important element for a quality marriage.

Patience is a valuable asset for a happy marriage. Life and marriage are going to have ups and downs. As long as your marriage has more up times, you need to be patient with the down times. Marriage can be the ultimate rollercoaster ride.

All of these components, along with being in love with your spouse will make a happy marriage. Marriage does take hard work, commitment and thinking about someone else as you travel on this journey together.

If you are thinking about getting married and would like some premarital counseling or if you are already married and feel your relationship is in need of some marital counseling, make time to take that first step. Communicating in a positive manner, friendship rebuilding and conflict resolution are skills that can be worked on with the proper guidance. You deserve a happy marriage and together we can work on that goal. So contact me today and let’s get started.

Your Relationship Expert,
Michelle