For years there have been marriage “rules” passed down from generation to generation. During our 27 years of research interviewing thousands of successfully married couples on six continents of the world, we discovered some marriage “rules” that truly helped couples build lasting love. On the other hand, we also discovered marriage “rules” that are not only silly, but can even be downright damaging to building successful relationships.
1. “The more time you spend together the better the relationship.” Many couples are of the mistaken notion that they are to be constantly attentive to their spouse. While their intentions are good, their desire to be attentive causes them to, in fact, interfere with the quality of their communicative relationship with their mate. Isn’t that ironic? The recognition and practice of the absolute need for privacy and aloneness is, in our judgment after analyzing thousands of interviews, a fundamental predisposition of successful marriages.
2. “Focusing on the children is the most important part of being a parent.” Quite the opposite is true for successfully married couples who have raised great children. The quality of the relationship between mom and dad trumps everything else. Get the relationship right and good things follow. Get it wrong and lots of bad things often happen! If couples want to raise great children, they will nurture their own relationship first and foremost as they raise their children.
3. “Great sex is essential to a great a marriage.“ Over the years we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples, and most report a reasonable degree of satisfaction with their sex life. But here is our most important research finding concerning this issue – no marriage was ever saved or made successful because the couple had a great sex life! And more importantly, when we ask successfully married couples how important sex is to the success of their marriage – to rank on a scale of 1-10 with 10 high – the average rank was only 6! Read more about sex in a marriage
It is important to understand the source of the marriage “rule” and the supporting research before putting that “rule” into practice in your relationship.
For hundreds of practical tips to strengthen your love, get the bestselling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts