How to have a long & happy marriage

“Till death do us part.” This phrase is part of the traditional marriage vows that is not always taken seriously. Instead of becoming a lifelong commitment, marriage has turned into something that can be easily thrown away.

The stresses of life and lack of quality communication can become overwhelming, making marriage seem like more work than it’s worth sometimes.

Successful marriages don’t just happen by accident. A successful, long term marriage happens because the couple works hard at their relationship. Without putting in the work, how can “till death do us part” be a true and lasting vow?

A major component of building a lasting relationship is communication, however, most of the time, when individuals talk about their problems, each points to the other as the “cause of their difficulties”. This finger pointing strains relationships and makes true communication virtually impossible.

To begin open and productive communication, each person must accept responsibility for making the relationship better. This is easier said than done, as, typically, non-communicative spouses think “Our marriage will be better when he/she changes”.

Some couples state that they really care about their significant others but are at a loss at how to identify behaviors that exhibit caring. The same is the case with words such as love, commitment, respect, etc. On their own, words alone cannot express your feelings to your significant other. True, loving words can only have meaning when they are backed up with specific actions that demonstrate the intent of those words.

The concepts listed below are critical to establishing and maintaining a good relationship. While difficult to achieve, these concepts are the actionable items you need to adhere to in order to create the lasting, committed relationship promised in the marriage vows mentioned above.

Often, people do not inherently have the skills to successfully employ these concepts. In these cases, couples may need some guidance or counseling geared toward providing them with the skills to make these concepts and their relationships succeed.

In reading through the concepts outlined below, keep an open mind and analyze them in terms of your own relationship. Remember that even couples in healthy, long-term relationships need to work on these items in order to maintain good communication.

  • Never say the “D” word
  • There is no such thing as the perfect marriage
  • Communication is key
  • Trust each other
  • Commitment
  • Friendship first
  • Hug and kiss and touch each other often
  • Vocalize appreciation
  • Play together, stay together

This article is attributed to Dr. Ron Rice, who is available at or by telephone (248) 626-2056 for more information about “good” and “bad” marriages.