Factors of a Successful Marriage
Marriage is the union of two people into a relationship traditionally thought to last the remainder of the couple’s lives. In 2011, over 2.1 million couples entered into a marriage presumably with intentions of life long happiness with their partner. However, it is estimated that nearly half of those marriages will result in divorce (Centers for Disease Control, 2011). Conversely, this means that nearly half of marriages do make it and a good portion of those relationships are likely happy and fulfilling. This begs the question, “what are some of the factors that make a marriage successful?” Undoubtedly, many factors influence whether or not a marriage will result in divorce. However, some of the key factors in happy, long-term marriages include communication, friendship, and commitment.
Every movement and every word spoken is a form of communication. In a marriage, a spouse shares almost every aspect of his or her life with another person, and effective, respectful communication is believed to be one factor of successful marriages. In a 2008 study on communication difficulties in marriage, it was concluded that at the onset of marriage, couples are uncertain about the decisions they need to make together. However, over time the best decisions present themselves through private signals from their partners. The uncertainty itself did not cause a marriage to dissolve; however, it was found that inaccurately interpreting the private signals of partners could cause the marriage to end in divorce (Thompson, 2008). Learning to interpret a partner’s private signals and learning to communicate in a more effective way is an important factor in the success of marriage. Couples that cannot communicate their desires and expectations will struggle with handling the challenges presented by joining the lives of two distinct individuals.
Ensuring that the partner can understand the message is the first part of effective communication. The second part is taking care to communicate in a manner that demonstrates honesty, respect and love. Communicating openly and honestly is essential in ensuring that both partners understand where the other stands on any given topic or decision. However, honesty should not be used as an excuse to be cruel or unkind. Care should be taken to ensure that communication is delivered with the level of respect the relationship deserves. Married couples begin with a loving relationship with their partner and communication that is not representative of the shared love can result in unhappiness in the marriage.
Failure to communicate effectively is one common reason for unhappiness in marriages. When couples do not communicate their needs and desires or do not communicate them in a loving way, the relationship may become strained. L. Valant (2008) posits that failure to communicate is the primary reasons for failed most failed business and personal relationships...