As soon as you receive the engagement announcement, question number one is invariably the same, "What is the best wedding gift?" In the past three decades, we have heard many gift suggestions from all over the world while conducting our research on the makings of great marriages.
While people tend to shower newlyweds with material gifts, perhaps, the best gift of all would be to share with them the secrets of a successful marriage — of how to marry the right person in the first place. In other words, maybe we should help those who are getting married learn how to get it right the first time. A happy and successful marriage could be the greatest gift of all.
You cannot learn or understand success by studying failure, that's a fact! We understood this notion more than 32 years ago when we began our research. By interviewing couples with successful marriages lasting from 30 to 77 years, we learned a lot about successful marriage. We discovered the "Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage" by gathering data from thousands of interviews with long-time, happily married couples and our own extraordinarily successful 48-year marriage.
Over the years, we have determined that the best way to understand successful marriages is to study successful marriages. Our research protocol is a very different approach compared to the one employed by most relationship experts. Frankly, we do not believe you learn a lot about success by studying failure, you learn about success by studying success. So study success we did.
The criteria for determining a successful marriage (i.e., qualified to be interviewed for our study) were stringent:
- First, the couple had to be married to each other for at least 30 years.
- Second, in response to the question "How would you rate the overall happiness of your marriage on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 the highest)?" The couple being interviewed had to agree that it was a 9 or 10.
- Third, we developed a field-tested research protocol that determined if their marriage was truly a successful one.
From these successful marriages we gathered more than 20,000 years of collective wisdom from couples in all 50 states of the United States — people of different faiths, ages and ethnicities. In addition, we interviewed successfully married couples in 48 different countries on all Seven of the World's Continents. After 32+ years and thousands of interviews with successfully married couples (as well as our own successful 48 years of marriage), we discovered seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages.
The central finding of our research is that successful love and relationships are an accumulation of the "little things." It isn't enough to just think about the little things or talk about the little things, you have to DO the little things every day. That's what makes love and relationships last! If you understand and implement the simple ideas presented in Building a Love that Lasts, a newly married couple will be well on their way to having a successful and long-lasting marriage.
While successful marriage isn't difficult to understand, many couples fail to do the simple things required to make their marriages work. They either forget to do them or they haven't learned them in the first place. Keep reading...
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