5 Principles to Build a Happy and Successful Marriage

April 13, 2022

I have been married to Vivian for 21 years. 

My co-host, Gay, has been married to Katie for 42 years.

We have both built successful and fulfilling relationships, tested by time. For both, our marriages have been our priority, the key to our success, and our primary source of happiness. 

So backed up by that experience, Gay and I will dive deep into the mechanics of love.

You will learn how Gay and Katie, when they first got together, within months of meeting, sat down at a fireplace and made a commitment to five big concepts. 

Five big ideas that they've held true to. These non-negotiable principles have given them immense intimacy, power, and love to create that flow we will be talking about.

1. Always tell the truth to each other

Every good relationship is built upon trust. 

That’s especially true when it comes to marriage. 

You chose to share EVERYTHING with the person you love the most, so an effort from both spouses to honor this promise is basic to the success of your relationship.

Small “white lies”, omissions, or even hiding the truth to avoid hurting our loved one, though not always motivated by wrong principles, can be very damaging to trust.

Work on many of the things of life together so that there’s not even room for the temptation of secrets or lies.

If you are afraid of providing feedback or advice because you think it may hurt your spouse, learn smart ways to say it, but don’t keep it to yourself if it needs to be said.

Make a commitment to be as transparent and honest as possible. 

Nobody is perfect, but everyone can have good communication, humility, and a willingness to work with their spouse.

2. Always listen to what the other person has to say

Today’s world is filled with “me”. We tend to see, hear, and look for everything that concerns us. A winning marriage requires selflessness and caring for the other person. When your spouse tells you something, listen. It is that simple. 

Turn down your phone, turn off the TV, or stop the car if needed. What is he or she trying to say? Could there be something else? Use your judgment, read between the lines, ask follow-up questions, and write down reminders or notes.

But most importantly, if you are dealing with a difficult situation that involves both of you, turn off your ears about everything related to “you”.

Be slow to feel accused or hurt, rather truly try to listen to what your spouse is trying to say.

Both Gay and I have seen that there are very few things that make your loved one feel as important as they do when you listen to them and cherish their feelings, ideas, concerns, fears, and dreams.

This can be life-changing for your marriage as well as for your relationships in general.

3. Eliminate criticism from your relationship

Gay and Katie grew up in very critical families. 

As a consequence, they took that to many of their sentimental relationships.

When they got together, they decided that criticism couldn’t be a part of their marriage.

Criticism is a characteristic of toxic relationships. It hurts the connection between the spouses and leads to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and depression.

The only solution to this is to consciously work on your behavior: how you communicate and act towards your couple when he or she does, thinks, or is something that you disapprove.

We are not saying you should tolerate behaviors like abuse or violence. But in most cases, couples tend to criticize each other for small things, sometimes as stupid as how he brushes his teeth or the type of food she prefers to eat for breakfast.

If something really needs to change in your marriage, you need to talk about it. 

If it’s not that important just let it go. Your relationship is more important than that.

You don’t own your spouse, you are together to enjoy the journey and help each other.

Things will become better when you stop trying to change or improve your spouse’s tiny details.

The truth is that couples that practice self-improvement and work with couple goals will eventually solve any small (or big) details about themselves and their marriage because their mind is always set to become the best version of themselves.

4. Eliminate bracing for the victim position when arguments come up

This one is very straightforward, but not very practiced in most marriages.

It comes to what we previously mentioned about focusing on “me” only.

When an argument comes up, or even a conversation about improvement, don’t feel blamed.

And if you were blamed, don’t strike back! 

Honest conversations and an attitude of responsibility will help you work things out.

Even if you are truly guilty of something, don’t feel down, offended, or “the victim”.

Both should make the commitment of taking responsibility together and always support each other to conquer any challenge that may come your way.

5. Living in thankfulness and appreciation

How would your life be different if your spouse wasn’t a part of it?

Think about that often. Rejoice in the opportunity of having found each other.

Your marriage wasn’t a coincidence. It may be the best thing that has happened to you.

So, along with all of the other good things that are part of your life, take time to give thanks, and express your gratitude for that which you cherish so much.

This can go beyond words and thoughts, and transform into acts that will seal your relationship forever.

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