How to have a successful marriage?


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I kinda curious about people's General advise for the do' s and do nots for having a successful marriage.

If your marriage has been successful, what good things have you and your partner done that you feel have contributed to it's success? What troubles have you had to work through?

If you have had a failed marriage, why did it fail, what do you think could have changed the result? Despite the problems was there anything that really worked out well? If you remarried, what have you and your partner done differently? What do you feel should be avoided?

Were there expectations you brought in that turned out differently? Are there things you looked for in a partner that made a difference?

Any other thoughts and comments?

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Obviously it helps a great deal when you're both committed to living the Gospel and keep your temple covenants foremost in your mind. 

 

Beyond that, something that has made a huge difference for us is not sweating the small stuff. Don't nit pick. Minor frustrations with each other's quirks should take a back seat to how you want your spouse to feel in general. I'd rather pick my husband's socks up than fight with him. He'd rather take my dishes to the sink than brow beat me about it and possibly get into an argument. Remembering that we're on the same side and treating each other with that kindness has improved our marriage leaps and bounds. 

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Guest MormonGator

How to succeed: 

 

Lighten up and have fun. Life is meant to be enjoyed and so is marriage. 

Be a realist. No one person will satisfy every single one of your needs, so don't expect it. 

Don't be a jerk. 

Learn to "be still" together and just hang out playing video games, reading, and not going out 

That old saying "you can not love another until you love yourself" is one hundred percent true. Remember it. 

Live the gospel standards. 

Keep perspective. If you have even a somewhat happy marriage you are doing better than a lot of other people. 

 

How to fail: 

 

Quit after one huge argument. 

Never forgive your spouse/significant other 

Convince yourself it won't get better. 

Nag and peck at your mate, constantly reminding them of their failures and problems. 

Tell everyone what your partner does wrong. 

Let your inner demons (addiction? anger?) catch up with you. 

Become jaded and cynical. 

Forget why you fell in love in the first place. 

 

 

If you divorce or break up you will always wonder "What if I did this?". It will haunt you for the rest of your life. I've been there and it does.

Edited by MormonGator
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To me it's very simple.

 

Look outward, not inward.

 

I'm still learning to do this, but have come to realize it's the foundation of true love and our personal happiness.

 

The next step is to keep the commandments as it has been mentioned. Whether its paying your tithing, going to church or abstaining from sin.

 

Beware of contempt. Contempt is the marriage killer. So be very careful if you have feelings of contempt or resentment or if you detect those feelings from your spouse. If those feelings exist, resolve them and get help doing so from your Bishop or a professional counselor if you can't get over them.

 

I myself have gone thru a divorce and am working on my second marriage. I have learned allot and am still learning. 

 

Here is some sound advice from someone who has been thru a divorce. 

 

http://jamesrussell.org/blog/blog/beautiful-advice-from-a-divorced-man-after-16-years-of-marriage

 

"In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time."

Edited by Windseeker
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Were there expectations you brought in that turned out differently? Are there things you looked for in a partner that made a difference?

 

Just a quick word on expectations. Your spouse (whether you like it or not) still retains their agency. As you have probably seen threads, they might even leave the Church. 

 

When you look for a spouse you need to expect them to change and give them the room to do so. They may fall (hopefully not too far) and just like our Heavenly Father doesn't give up on us, we shouldn't give up on our spouses. I think it's reasonable not to expect or tolerate the 3 A's (Abuse, Adultery, Addiction). 

 

For me looking back the things that are important to me in looking for a partner as the following 

 

1. Healthy emotional relationship with their Parents and Siblings.

2. Realistic understanding of the Gospel (I don't have time to elaborate, but I'll just say not glassyeyed and completely "out of the world", and overzealous in being perfect but able to put the gospel into context that we all sin, that we all have weaknesses, willing to forgive, able to be in the "world and not of the world")

3. Honest and Courageous and not afraid to speak their mind, 

4. Independence. Content to be by themselves. (Opposite of Co-Dependent). Have their own hobbies independent of whether or you participate or not. 

5. Mostly positive (Glass half full). 

6. Sense of Humor and ability to laugh about set-backs.

 

those are just a few things off the top of my head. 

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Sorry to be obtuse... but please define success.

 

In the Philippines, divorce is illegal.  What would be your measure for success in such an environment?  Do you measure it by number of non-fighting days greater than number of fighting days?  Number of complaints less than number of praises?  I'm not sure what you consider success.

Edited by anatess
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I can appreciate Anatess's question. It'd be interesting to see what people consider to be a "successful marriage". My own thoughts...A successful marriage is a healthy and happy one. I suppose you could have one without the other under certain contexts, but to have a wholesome enriched marriage, I'd say both are needed.

 

From my own experience, and having gone through a divorce with my first marriage, I would say that the biggest factor was that I married too young - I was a teenager and hadn't matured quite enough. That said, while I admit to having had my own faults, I was willing to work through any hardships my then marriage encountered, but after chronic infidelity on my then husband's part, I had finally had enough. I wanted to be in a loving marriage where my husband respected me. I didn't want to bring children into our mess. So I filed for divorce. Best decision of my life! I remarried a wonderful man who has never given me reason to doubt him, and who has proven through his actions, that he unconditionally loves me. I'd say that what's made our marriage successfully work overall is our communication. I can wear my heart on my sleeve and be an open book, and so can my husband. Also, I can say without a second thought that my husband IS my better half. He genuinely makes me want to be a better person. I am so blessed to have a husband who is calm and collected. He has been my lifesaver so many times.

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Sorry to be obtuse... but please define success.

 

 

haha, don't worry about being obtuse. I don't think i'm going to exactly define a successful marriage, since it would be subjective to each individual. I think the minimum standard of success would be where the relationship is in a healthy state, where each would like to continue with the relationship on average at least.

Many good thoughts from people, I might chime in a bit later.

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you hear people talk alot about having a moral compass. well, I say you need a compass for everything else too.

- Friendship compass

- hobby compass

- church calling compass

- work compass

- family time compass

- diet compass

- excercise compass

- arguing with your wife compass

- how to raise a child compass

etc....

 

not knowing your limits and finding that perfect balance will help you avoid un-needed stress/anxiety

 

my two cents

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My wife and I have been married for 33 yrs. We were sealed in the Logan Temple a few months after I returned from my mission. I often get asked how we made it that long and what's the secret. I have told others it wasn't easy. My wife came from a divorced family and I came from a family where my Parents should have divorced. We have always been active in church and paid a full tithe and attended the Temple as often as we were able. We still hold hands when going out in public. We don't critize or put each other down in public. If we do say something that offends the other we will mention it later in private. One other thing and it's important ....you have to find a way to keep dating even after your married. That's right the husband needs to ask his wife out on a date. Needs to happen often, even if it's just for a walk.

All of our kids are out of the house and married and we still date and we still have prayer together and we still read the scriptures together. We are not perfect but we do love and respect each other.

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My wife and I have been married for 33 yrs. We were sealed in the Logan Temple a few months after I returned from my mission. I often get asked how we made it that long and what's the secret. I have told others it wasn't easy. My wife came from a divorced family and I came from a family where my Parents should have divorced. We have always been active in church and paid a full tithe and attended the Temple as often as we were able. We still hold hands when going out in public. We don't critize or put each other down in public. If we do say something that offends the other we will mention it later in private. One other thing and it's important ....you have to find a way to keep dating even after your married. That's right the husband needs to ask his wife out on a date. Needs to happen often, even if it's just for a walk.

All of our kids are out of the house and married and we still date and we still have prayer together and we still read the scriptures together. We are not perfect but we do love and respect each other.

You hit it out of the park with this post, but I love your comment about not speaking ill of the other in public and taking up offenses in private. 

 

That's so important. You should always present a unified front in public. 

Edited by MormonGator
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That's so important. You should always present a unified front in public. 

 

Yes... this reminds me of that old Dear Abby (or maybe Ann Landers) column about the husband who decided to be cute by introducing his wife to others as his "first wife."  That stopped when she began introducing him as her "last husband."

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Yes, don't fight in public or down talk about your spouse to friends and or family. This is one thing I've always been good at. I have never uttered a negative word about my husband to anyone. Any gripes are handled between us privately. I have siblings that can't seem to keep their traps shut when things get heated between them and their spouse. It's all so dramatic, and guess what, everyone remembers the bad stuff even after the issue has been resolved!

 

Edit: Can't! Not can lol

Edited by Bini
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Tell your spouse to lower his/her expectations...that way they will never be disappointed.

 

I kid

 

Pale rider has it right:

 

 My wife and I have been married for 33 yrs. We were sealed in the Logan Temple a few months after I returned from my mission. I often get asked how we made it that long and what's the secret. I have told others it wasn't easy. My wife came from a divorced family and I came from a family where my Parents should have divorced. We have always been active in church and paid a full tithe and attended the Temple as often as we were able. We still hold hands when going out in public. We don't critize or put each other down in public. If we do say something that offends the other we will mention it later in private. One other thing and it's important ....you have to find a way to keep dating even after your married. That's right the husband needs to ask his wife out on a date. Needs to happen often, even if it's just for a walk.

All of our kids are out of the house and married and we still date and we still have prayer together and we still read the scriptures together. We are not perfect but we do love and respect each other.
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haha, don't worry about being obtuse. I don't think i'm going to exactly define a successful marriage, since it would be subjective to each individual. I think the minimum standard of success would be where the relationship is in a healthy state, where each would like to continue with the relationship on average at least.

Many good thoughts from people, I might chime in a bit later.

 

Deciding to continue with the relationship is a foregone conclusion.  By hook or by crook.  Come hades or high water.  Not 'til death do we part but through life after death.

 

This is only possible if we change our idea of Love to the Love that is Christ's.  To lose one's self in the service of another.

 

What makes me happy is not what my husband does for me... it's what I can do for him.  I give my husband complete freedom to be who he wishes to be... to succeed, to be righteous, to sin, to fail, to hit rock bottom or all time high... my job is to help him find his way to God in whatever capacity I can provide.

 

This is one thing I fully embraced in Catholic teaching that still guides me until today and will continue to guide me forever.

 

And so you might ask... but, what about me?  Love others as you love yourself... I love myself, not demand that my husband love me.  Of course, when I chose to marry him, I didn't just go into it not knowing who I was marrying... so, if he didn't love me, I wouldn't have married him.  But, I was under no illusion that these things will not change.  I married him anyway because, I have made the decision that I will love him regardless of change.  It's a conscious choice I made and continue to make everytime I wake up.

Edited by anatess
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Yes, don't fight in public or down talk about your spouse to friends and or family. This is one thing I've always been good at. I have never uttered a negative word about my husband to anyone. Any gripes are handled between us privately. I have siblings that can't seem to keep their traps shut when things get heated between them and their spouse. It's all so dramatic, and guess what, everyone remembers the bad stuff even after the issue has been resolved!

 

Edit: Can't! Not can lol

This is a big one... and sadly a policy my mom doesn't agree with. I've heard the advice from a hundred different sources... so I decided to take it. Don't fight, lecture, admonish, nitpick in front of others.

I love my mom and she's a good woman, but it upsets her that she doesn't get to hear the play-out of arguments and discussions. She actually has said it is her business as mother.

No, Mom, it's not.

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This is a big one... and sadly a policy my mom doesn't agree with. I've heard the advice from a hundred different sources... so I decided to take it. Don't fight, lecture, admonish, nitpick in front of others.

I love my mom and she's a good woman, but it upsets her that she doesn't get to hear the play-out of arguments and discussions. She actually has said it is her business as mother.

No, Mom, it's not.

 

My husband is Dutch, and not the American Dutch variety, they are like straight-from-Holland Dutch. The whole family is very opinionated and don't hold back. The women in particular can be a bit overbearing and untactful when it comes to delicate situations. There have been many times that I've head butt with my MIL, but the longer I am married to her son, the better things are becoming. This is due to a couple things. One, my husband will stand up for me and tell her when she's out of line. Two, I'm slowly being seen as an equal and not a child. Hard to explain but she has this matriarch-ness about her and for the longest time I just felt second class to her and that I wasn't good enough for her son. Don't get me wrong, she is a good woman, and I am grateful for the love she gave my husband because I know part of why he's the man he is today is because of her.

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Just celebrated 23 years last month. We were both returned missionaries. Before we married, I asked her if she would support me in all my callings, whatever they'd be and in serving the Lord. She said yes. She did and still does. I support her, too. We did have lots of bumps along the way, but because of our foundation, we've weathered all storms.

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Just celebrated 23 years last month. We were both returned missionaries. Before we married, I asked her if she would support me in all my callings, whatever they'd be and in serving the Lord. She said yes. She did and still does. I support her, too. We did have lots of bumps along the way, but because of our foundation, we've weathered all storms.

Yes....same for us...we had our rough times but we worked thru it. That's why I tell people it's hard work that two people have to work at. It's hard to have a happy marriage when only one person is working at it.

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We're only 17 years into it... such a baby compared to y'all...  I'd say, out of those 17 years, we were fighting for 10 years and loving for 7...

 

That's why I asked for a definition of "success".  Because, with me being raised a Catholic, privileged ultra-clannish Asian with unrivaled bullheadedness and my husband being a Mormon, penniless, no-permanent-address-military-kid-who-can-barely-name-one-cousin white American who has no problem going toe-to-toe with my bullheadedness... sparks are a common occurrence.  But, we don't pull back.  That's one of the things the Church teaches that we just couldn't learn for some reason.... we're not white-handkerchief type of couple, we'd rather duke it out until it gets bulldozed flat.

 

So, my house is a noisy house.  Chaos all the time.  Not this quiet, peaceful, spirit-filled Martha Stewart house.  I mean, we'd having 3 dogs barking, the bird singing at the top of his lungs, the piano ringing, the drums going, the karoake going, NFL blasting on the TV... all at the same time.  My husband and I yelling at each other just goes par for the course.  Hah.  I guess that's why my kids' friends all just park at my house - there's no need for indoor voices and they can all jump on the couch and add to the chaos.

 

So then they say at Relief Society, we need to make our house a peaceful house that invites the spirit... I know it's a mind-boggling concept, but we do feel the spirit in our chaotic house... when you're used to all the noise, you don't really "hear" it... the spirit flows right over it.

 

But really... what makes this arrangement work is we don't consider being outside of it.  So, when we hurt somebody, or we get hurt... as always happens when you spend 24/7 with each member of the family... we just learn from it and keep going.  We don't think... well, Mr. X will treat me better than you're treating me!  Forgiveness is constant.  Fighting is exhausting when there's no walking out, so everyone is incentivized to work harder to resolve things - before bedtime.  And a lot of times, we just give ground and accept people for who they are and choose more important things to draw hard lines in.  Like my husband's obsession with football... I can yell at him from August to February to demand his attention or I can just sit next to him and read a book... I choose to read a book - or go online and read the juicy personal stories of these celebrities playing football...

Edited by anatess
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My father is more to blame - he went out and eventually had himself a little affair when he got bored, which ended the marriage.  However, my mother, who used to openly shame my father and treat him with contempt all the time and withheld affection from him for a decade didn't exactly help matters- she did an awful lot to make their marriage horrible and unhappy.

Not to pick at old wounds or second-guess your intimate knowledge, but based purely on the above statements, it's not obvious to me that your father was more to blame. At all.

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