How to have a
Successful Marriage

Who WANTS an unhappy marriage anyway?



To have a successful marriage is what God wants for every married couple.

Unfortunately, for many people, marriage is (or was) the single most painful experience of their lives…

And this despite God’s intention that marriage should be one of the greatest blessings that we could ever imagine.

A dismal record

Worldwide statistics have shown that more and more marriages end in divorce. In some areas there are three divorces for every four marriages!!

So is there something that you and I can do to “stay out of the statistics” and have a happy, successful marriage?

Absolutely!

Or should we just wait and see how our marriages turn out?

Absolutely NOT!

Your marriage is way too important to leave it to chance! You’ve got to do everything in your power to have a successful marriage.

If you’re a man, you might benefit by learning the secrets of how to become a good husband.

General guidelines

Whether you have been married for some time or are getting married sometime in the future, there are some things that you should know about having a successful marriage.

  • God wants you to have a happy, successful marriage
  • God can make any marriage happy and successful – if you follow his guidelines
  • But it is not God’s work to make your marriage a success - both husband and wife have to work hard to make their marriage a success
  • If you know what God wants your marriage to be like and you follow His simple rules, you too can have a happy, successful marriage.
Your marriage needs love, support, tolerance, communication, realistic expectations, caring, nurturing, and a sense of humour to be successful. You need to also employ the following four key principles:
  1. Key principle #1: Desire
    Both husband and wife have to have a really strong desire to have a happy and successful marriage. Not just a wish – a burning desire.

  2. Key principle #2: Decision
    Both husband and wife have to decide together that you are going to do whatever it takes to make yours a happy and successful marriage.
  3. Key principle #3: Discipline
    Together, both husband and wife have to be disciplined enough to do the things that are necessary to have a successful marriage. When challenges come (and they do!) you have to realise together that it is only a challenge, and that it can be overcome by working in a disciplined manner to get the challenge out of the way. By doing this successfully you are strengthening your bond and making it easier to tackle future challenges together, knowing that together you can beat them all.

  4. Key principle #4: Determination
    Both husband and wife must have the necessary determination, the dogged determination really, to do whatever it takes to keep your marriage a happy, successful one.

If your marriage is currently not the way it should be it can be attributed to certain causes. The Law of Cause and Effect stipulates that “Everything happens for a reason” or, looking at it from the opposite direction, “for every effect there is a specific cause”.

Think about that for a while.

No, I mean really think about it.

If your marriage is in the gutter it is because something (or more likely somebody) put it there. It didn’t just happen to end up in the gutter.

Now you should not start pointing fingers, here. What you should do with that piece of information is to realise the following:

If it is true that your marriage was PUT in the gutter,
it can be TAKEN OUT again!

If it was CAUSED,
it can be UN-CAUSED!

Preventing the Decay

So, what can you do to prevent your marriage going down the drain?

Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • Know your own expectations
  • Know your spouse’s expectations
  • Know about which things / issues you have different opinions
  • Know how to handle your differences – if you don’t work on them, they can destroy your marriage
  • Know that sex can make or break a marriage
  • Know that illicit sex WILL break your marriage
  • If you don’t have a happy marriage, having children won’t fix it – if anything it will make it worse
  • Communicate
  • Agree on how to raise and discipline your children

The Basic Rule

What I call “The Basic Rule” can be summed up in the following five words:

Give More Than You Take.

That’s it, simply “Give more than you take”.

In fact it’s so important that I want to repeat it for you:

GIVE
MORE
THAN
YOU
TAKE

Now, you may wonder about this giving and taking idea.

Let me explain it using a simple metaphor – a savings account.

Imagine you have a savings account with a 10,000 units in it (pounds, euros, dollars, francs, roubles - it doesn’t matter what the currency is, just the amount, but for the purpose of my metaphor I’ll use dollars).

So you have this account with 10,000 dollars.

Now, every day you take out $100, and at the end of each month you deposit back $1,000.

What will happen?

Yes, you’re right. In about 5 months your savings account will be empty.

Zero dollars left. Zippo. Nada.

“That’s not fair”, you might say.

Maybe not, but that’s the way it is.

Learn to live with it or else you’ll never be able to grow a bank account.

Your Marriage is THE Account

Like our example of the savings account, your marriage is based upon the same principles of growth.

If you put in more than you take out, your “account” grows.

If you take out more than you put in, it will run empty.

“But how do I put money into my marriage?” you may ask.

Well, not money, but more important things.

Things like love, respect, commitment, time, effort, sacrifice, assistance, support, etc.

These are the things you have to deposit into your “Marital Account” in order to make it grow.

And if you want to have a successful marriage you HAVE TO work on it every day!

Let’s look at some practical examples, shall we?

In order to put more into your marital account, which will help you have a successful marriage, you have to be willing, no keen, to sacrifice more than you expect your spouse to sacrifice.

I’m not saying that you must never get what you want – just that you must be willing to get your way less often and not complain about it. And even that is not a hard and fast rule. I can almost hear the guy saying, “Yes, I did that. I let my wife buy a handbag for $100 and a pair of shoes for $200. So twice she got what she wanted, and now I can get my Aston Martin for $400,000.”

You see how ridiculous that approach is, don't you?

Yes, I know I took the example slightly too far into the extreme. Okay, maybe more than slightly.

But I wanted to make a point that these are not mathematical rules. And in that I succeeded, didn’t I?

Here are some more examples.

  • In order to put more into your marital account you have to be willing, no keen, to show more love towards your spouse than you get in return. This is especially applicable if you’re a man, because men tend not to show their affection for their wifes as often as their wifes would like to receive it.
  • In order to put more into your marital account you have to be willing, no keen, to show more respect towards your spouse than you get in return.
  • In order to put more into your marital account you have to be willing, no keen, to praise your spouse more than you expect to be praised. And I’m talking real, heart-felt praise here, not some watered-down, half-baked effort.
  • In order to put more into your marital account you have to be willing, no keen, to get up more often during the night to care for your sick child than you expect your spouse to do – yes, you too, mister!

As you can see, we can go on and on with this list.

The idea, however, is not to give you an all-encompassing list, but rather to prompt you into thinking about how YOU can start depositing more into your marital account than you are withdrawing.

That means getting you to think about what YOU can do to have a successful marriage.

Not a one way road

Now for the above Basic Rule to work really well, both spouses should strive to put more in than they take out.

Both spouses should really desire to have a happy, successful marriage.

If one spouse just keeps on giving, while the other one just selfishly gobbles up all those “deposits” it will also not last.

I am not proposing that you become the punch bag that just absorbs everything thrown at you (that’s not even what the Bible teaches Jesus’ disciples to do).

As long as both spouses put deposits into the “marital account” it can keep on growing, even though it might be more from the one spouse’s deposits than from those of the other spouse.

But if ALL deposits come ONLY from one spouse the account will also flounder. Then it becomes time to talk about it with a view to solve it. If you don’t solve it, it is bound to turn into conflict at some time.

Keep your Spouse centre stage

The above Basic Rule is just another way to tell you that you must keep your spouse centre stage.

Imagine your spouse was your favourite singer. You would give everything to be at the concert. You’ll pay a large sum of money to have a seat as close to the stage as possible.

During the performance you wouldn’t want anything to take your attention off your hero, and you also wouldn’t want the show to stop, would you?

If you have this kind of attitude towards your spouse, it will go a long way towards building a happy, successful marriage.

When you’re together, be there!

When you spend time with your spouse (which you should be doing daily, by the way), be there.

Don’t let your mind dwell to the game you are going to play tomorrow… Or to the work problems you have… Or to anything else.Concentrate on putting your spouse centre stage.

Listen carefully, and actively. Don’t listen with the intent of hearing what you want to hear. No, listen to what your spouse is saying. Ask questions to clarify.

Imperfect people

Someone once said that “Marriage is a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person.”

You are not perfect (are you?); therefore you cannot expect your spouse to be.

Allow your spouse to make mistakes, and rather than criticising, help him/her to grow and overcome those shortcomings.

It’s never complete

Remember that your marriage is never complete until one of you dies. It is always in a state of change.

But you can choose the direction of such change – either you make the marriage worse or you make it better. It’s your choice.

Mike Dooley uses the following slogan: “Thoughts become things . . . choose the good ones”.

This is very applicable to your spouse and your marriage – think good thoughts about your spouse and your marriage.

Don’t think about his/her shortcomings, but rather about her/his good points. Highlight those in your thoughts and praise him/her for those good points.

Also don’t think about what is wrong in your marriage – rather think about what is right, share it with your spouse and thank her/him for it.

For example, you might not be happily married, but at least you don’t have to beg your husband to take out the garbage. Then, instead of complaining about not being happily married, you could say, “You know, (your husband’s name), I am really pleased that I don’t have to beg you to take the garbage out like Susan has to do with her husband.”

In doing this you are focusing on what is right instead of what is wrong.

And focusing on the positive things is one of the ways in which you can prepare yourself for successfully using the Law of Attraction in your life.

So never stop working on it

If it is true that your marriage is never complete, then don't you think that it would be a good idea to keep working on having a successful marriage?

Surely you can see the logic in that, can't you?

If you really want to have a successful marriage you'll go out of your way to do anything and everything necessary to make your marriage successful.

Do it! It's important enough, without even having to mention that it is God's will for you and your marriage.

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