Seven Secrets for a Successful Marriage

C = Commitment. I read about one lawyer who specialized in contract marriages. After three years, he gave up. Why? Because none of the marriages he contracted survived. Contracts without commitment are useless.

And marriages without commitment are equally useless. This means that every step necessary will be taken to make it work.

There also needs to be a commitment to one another—to the well-being, growth and development of each partner.

Marriage is a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. Without this kind of commitment no marriage today can expect to survive.

R = Responsibility. Responsibility as well as commitment are two of our greatest needs in today's world. Nowhere are they more important than in marriage and family relationships.

People who choose to get married are responsible for their choice, for fulfilling their responsibilities, and for doing all they can to make their marriage succeed. People who have children are also responsible for the well-being, growth and development of their children.

Everyone going into marriage brings into the relationship his or her personal problems and pockets of immaturity. Therefore, both partners are responsible for facing and resolving these problems and not blaming their partners for them.

Marriage is a commitment of
one imperfect person to
another imperfect person.

Each partner is responsible for his or her own happiness, reactions and feelings. Nobody else can make us happy. If we haven't found happiness before marriage, marriage won't provide it. Happiness is a by-product of maturity. For that, each one of us is responsible. Only happy people make happy marriages.

E = Effective communication. Another secret for any successful relationship is knowing how to communicate effectively.

Peter Drucker, renowned management specialist, says that 60 percent of management problems result from faulty communication. According to criminologists, up to 90 percent of all criminals have problems with interpersonal communication. And according to a leading marriage counselor, at least half of all marriage breakdowns are caused by faulty communication.

Effective communication is based on knowing our thoughts, desires, motives and feelings—being honest with them and expressing them creatively. People who deny or suppress their inner feelings and true desires fail to communicate effectively and can never discover true intimacy.

T = Time management. A child whose parents never spend sufficient time with him or her feels unwanted and unloved. It's the same with a marriage partner. Time—in quantity as well as quality—is needed for any wholesome relationship to flourish.

In today's pressurized society it can be quite a challenge for couples to spend quality time together. By quality time we mean giving each other your presence; that is, being emotionally with your partner and communicating at the feeling level. There also needs to be quantity time; that is, sufficient time to meet each other's needs to "keep each other's love cup" topped up. We're not talking about clinging time as that will smother a relationship, but just being there for each other relating spirit to spirit and heart to heart.

S = Spiritual commitment. Research has shown that families who are committed to a strong religious faith have a much greater chance of staying together. It is still true, the family that prays together is much more likely to stay together. Marriage was instituted by God. He has a divine order for it. We can't improve on his plan. We just need to believe in it and practice it.

A good place to start is by finding a church that not only believes in God but also is committed to building healthy personal relationships and successful families.

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