7 Rules That Every Married Couple Should Be Following

While not every marriage is the same, these seven ground rules can make or break them all.

Mark Travers, Ph.D.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | April 15, 2024

Marriage is one of life's greatest adventures, but it can sometimes feel like exploring uncharted territory. Fortunately, research offers us a roadmap. In a world where the 'right' way to do marriage seems elusive, insights from The Family Journal's psychological research unveils seven essential ground rules for every committed couple.

With these rules, couples have access to a blueprint for building a happier, more fulfilling marriage. Here's how you can ensure lasting love and harmony between you and your spouse.

1. The Ability To Turn The Downs Into Ups

Marriage is not devoid of challenges; it's how couples navigate these difficulties that determines the strength of their bond. Research underscores the significance of handling problems and conflicts with resilience and teamwork. According to the authors, partners who can confront issues together—offering each other comfort, support and encouragement during tough times—are able to maintain a healthier relationship dynamic.

This resilience isn't just about weathering the storm, but also about finding ways to grow stronger through adversity. By slowing down, soothing each other and seeking solutions, couples can turn even the most challenging situations into opportunities for growth and bonding.

2. Activity, Creativity And Imagination

The study highlights the importance of engaging in enjoyable activities together, creating a unique universe of shared experiences and meaningful interactions between a married couple.

These rituals act to both deepen emotional intimacy and provide opportunities for communication, laughter and relaxation. Couples who prioritize shared activities and openly express their affection and appreciation for one another tend to nurture a more fulfilling and enduring relationship.

Make it a priority to carve out time for shared activities and rituals that bring joy and connection to your relationship. Whether it's cooking together, taking walks, pursuing mutual hobbies, or tending to each other's sexual desires—cherish these moments as opportunities to strengthen your bond and create lasting memories together.

3. Tolerating The Dissimilarity And Change

Change is inevitable, both in individuals and in relationships. The research suggests that embracing and tolerating the differences between partners is essential for maintaining a stable and fulfilling marriage.

Rather than viewing change as a threat, couples must approach it as an opportunity for evolution. By respecting each other's autonomy and making room for each other's individual differences, couples will develop a greater sense of security and stability within their relationship—even amidst change.

Instead of resisting differences, celebrate them as priceless opportunities to learn more about one another.

4. Patience, Flexibility And Humility

Successful marriages often require a healthy dose of patience, flexibility and humility. The authors suggest that couples who can handle disagreements with grace and compromise tend to experience greater satisfaction in their relationships.

Rather than fixating on minor annoyances or imperfections, try instead to focus on appreciating each other's positive qualities and strengths. An attitude of gratitude and understanding can lead to much more harmony and fulfillment for both you and your spouse.

5. Acknowledging, Supporting And Admiring

Expressing appreciation and admiration for your partner is essential for a nurturing and supportive marital environment. The study underscores the importance of acknowledging each other's efforts and showing gratitude for the little things.

According to the authors, simple acts of kindness and affirmation—such as saying "thank you," "you make me happy" and "I appreciate what you have done"—can go a long way in nurturing love and connection within the relationship.

Make a conscious effort to acknowledge and appreciate your partner's contributions and gestures of love. Take the time to express gratitude for the everyday moments of kindness and support. In the author's words, "There is no reason not to say these words nor do they lose their value, even with considerable use."

6. Commitment And Dedication

Commitment is the cornerstone of a successful marriage, requiring dedication and perseverance through both good times and bad. The study suggests that couples who approach their relationship with a sense of purpose and determination tend to experience greater satisfaction and fulfillment.

By prioritizing your relationship and investing time and effort into nurturing it, you can build a foundation of love and trust that withstands the test of time. The authors make an apt analogy in this regard: "Without proper concentration, work does not go right. Neither will the love life satisfy if one's attitude towards one's partner is a cavalier, 'let us see' style."

Make a conscious commitment to your relationship, dedicating yourself to its growth and well-being. Set aside time to nurture your love for your spouse and address any challenges that arise with patience and understanding.

7. Respecting Oneself

Self-respect forms the basis of healthy relationships, influencing how you perceive and interact with your partner. The authors suggest that those who possess a strong sense of self-worth are better equipped to maintain satisfying and fulfilling relationships.

By treating yourself with kindness and compassion, you set the stage for mutual respect and understanding within your marriage.

Prioritize self-respect and self-care in your life, recognizing that your well-being is essential for the health of your relationship. Always ensure that you have a positive self-image, allowing yourself to embrace your strengths and imperfections alike. Only by treating yourself with kindness and respect can your partner offer you the same treatment.

Want to know what you need to do to ensure the health and vitality of your marital bond? Take the Marital Satisfaction Scale to learn more.

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