Advice for a Good Marriage


We’ve all read the statistics: Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Are the lucky couples who continue to love and lust and live in relative harmony just that — people whom the fates have blessed? Over Cupid’s dead body! Love isn’t a present that gets handed to you; it’s a special kind of learned behavior. WebMD consulted the marriage and relationship experts to learn the best advice for a good marriage – five secrets to long-lasting love.

“We’re born with the capacity to have a happy marriage, but we still have to work to develop it,” says Howard Markham, PhD, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and co-author of Fighting for Your Marriage. “Having a good marriage takes education,” Markham says. “We have to unlearn some bad habits and acquire other good ones.”

Other experts WebMD consulted agree. The couples who remain close and content are the pioneer-spirited among us who share the same secret formula: When problems crop up, they don’t give up. They use the following five basic pieces of advice for a good marriage that can help every couple live (more) happily ever after.

1. Listen Up! “Everybody has the need to be listened to and fully understood,” says Jack Rosenblum, PhD, co-founder (with his wife of 29 years) of “Loveworks” couples’ workshops and co-author of Five Secrets of Marriage from the blood pressure and your marriage. When in doubt, follow Ogden Nash’s sage advice for resolving conflicts:

To keep your marriage brimming

With love in the marriage cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it,

Whenever you’re right, shut up.

4. Turn up the heat. “If your dream come true? Tell him – simply, sweetly, and directly. Don’t drop obscure hints – this is not a test to see if he or she loves you. It’s about giving yourself permission to ask for what you want and requesting it lovingly – without accusations or guilt-tripping. If a few weeks go by and you still don’t get those roses, have a second conversation. “Gee, I don’t know what to make of the fact that I told you I’d love to get flowers once in a while and you haven’t bought any.” If he gets defensive and discussion becomes impossible, you might consider seeing a marriage counselor who can offer advice for a good marriage. But more than likely he’ll explain he’s not good at buying flowers, he passed a shop and thought about it but didn’t know which flowers to buy. Tell him roses or daises will do just fine. Most of us — men and women alike — don’t realize that even small gestures go a long way to making our mates, and our marriages, happy.