I am lucky to have been happily married for 10 years, and every year it seems to get better. But when people ask us how we have stayed so close over the years, we're a bit stumped to give an answer. Is there a list of qualities for 'good marriages' that might help us articulate what we are experiencing?
There is an incredible number of such lists, as you might imagine. So many elements go into a strong, healthy relationship that it can be hard to express, even when you have years of experience under your belt.
The first thing that needs to happen is that you need to choose the right partner to begin with. Compatibility, both in general outlook on life and in particular traits, such as how you prefer to handle finances and how you like to spend your free time, goes a long way toward building a long-lasting, happy relationship.
The "Eat, Save and Be Healthy" blog from Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (http://osufcs.wordpress.com/) recently summarized some information on healthy relationships from University of Missouri Extension. Among the behaviors of happy couples listed there are:
- Remain good friends -- be polite and respectful to each other. Gain enjoyment and satisfaction from the friendship you've built.
- Be committed to a strong marriage and let your spouse know he or she can count on you.
- Perform daily acts of kindness for each other.
- Have fun together, and make it a priority. Research has shown that the amount of fun time spouses spend together is a major factor in the happiness of their marriage.
See the full blog post and offer your own comments at http://osufcs.wordpress.com/, or if you'd like to learn more, you can link to the original University of Missouri Extension article through OSU Extension's Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) website on Couple/Marital Relationships, at http://fcs.osu.edu/hdfs/stages-of-life/relationships/couple-marital-relations.php. The article, "Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage," contains detailed information on characteristics of happy marriages, including positivity, empathy, commitment, acceptance, and mutual love and respect. It also discusses the importance of managing conflict successfully, and offers ideas for effective marital communication.
The OSU Extension HDFS website offers many more resources on relationships, as well. Plus, you'll also see links to information on other stages of life, from infants and young children to parenting and aging, as well as numerous additional resources. Just go to http://fcs.osu.edu and choose Human Development and Family Science to see what's available.
Family Fundamentals is a monthly column on family issues. It is a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Family Fundamentals, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1044, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Subscriber: This column was reviewed by Melinda Hill, family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension.