Marriage rates in the United States have been declining in recent years. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, national marriage rates decreased from 6.9 to 6.1 marriages per 1,000 people from 2017 to 2019, which is the lowest rate recorded so far.
While there are many potential reasons for this, it’s clear that many people still want to marry. But since long-lasting marriages are becoming more and more rare, how can couples ensure that theirs is a happy one?
Every couple is different, and so is their relationship. So there’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula for a happily ever after. However, there are some key elements to a long-term, healthy partnership. Below are the three most important ones:
- Commitment: Commitment is more than just wanting to stay together for a long time. It’s the act of choosing your partner for life and promising to go through all of its ups and downs together. And while there may be plenty of fish in the sea, being married means you are wholeheartedly invested in making the relationship last, casting away any doubts that this is just a temporary experiment.
- Love: While most couples start out their relationships being in love, sustaining that feeling for each other takes effort, sacrifice, and generosity. True love means putting your partner first and giving of yourself without expecting anything in return. It also helps you to accept each other for who you are, flaws and all, and to forgive each other when you fall short.
- Respect: Expressing love, no matter how heartfelt, doesn’t mean much if marriage partners don’t respect each other. Respecting your partner for their qualities, thoughts, and capabilities means that you not only accept, but also admire your differences. Respect can also help you listen to each others’ opinions and overcome challenges and disagreements.
Of course, while these are the most important things in a marriage, there are plenty of other elements to keeping a marriage happy, including patience, communication, intimacy, trust, empathy, and humor.
What are the most common problems in a marriage?
No matter how happy your marriage is, you’re bound to encounter problems—big and small. One of the secrets to a healthy relationship is understanding potential challenges and making efforts to overcome them. Some of the most common problems in a marriage include:
- Lack of trust
- Lack of communication
- Jealousy or competition
- Financial issues
- Parenting issues
- Differences in opinion
- Cultural differences
- Unrealistic expectations
At the root of many of these problems is a lack of trust, especially when it comes to infidelity. Trust is perhaps one of the most important foundations of a marriage. So how can you strengthen trust in your relationship?
How to build trust in a marriage
They say that trust is more fragile than glass and shatters with the lightest blow. And once lost, it may be difficult to regain. To maintain trust in your marriage:
- Keep your word, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you.
- Be available for your partner when they need you.
- Express yourself honestly and openly.
- Be loyal and show them that they can count on you.
- Be a patient listener.
At times, despite your best efforts, marriage can be a challenge to navigate. But with commitment, love, respect, and trust, you and your partner can make it work even through the tough times. And if all else fails. don’t hesitate to seek the help of a relationship counselor when needed.
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