5 DEEP Reasons To Do The Hard Work Of Building A Blissfully Happy Marriage

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marriage for better or worse

Don't give up, it's about to get SO good.

Marriage can be hard work at times. But in a marriage that really works, all that work can be worth it.

There are many things happy couples do that helps them stay together "till death do us part", and it's smart to learn from their wisdom to enjoy the benefits of a long marriage.

Current statistics tell us that somewhere between 40 and 50% of marriages end in divorce. The percentage of those ending in divorce has fallen in recent years. 

Based on those numbers, over 50% of marriages last a lifetime. What is the payoff of hanging in there, figuring it out and working through the struggles and difficulties that close to half of all couples couldn't get through? 

Is it worth the effort to try to make it work long term?

Well, at least half of all married couples do find the value in putting in the work.

An article on WebMD discusses several health benefits that couples in healthy long-term relationships enjoy compared to those in unhappy relationships. 

The stress experienced in an unhappy and unhealthy marriage can lead to depression, obesity and hypertension and the stressors often have a negative impact on the immune system — resulting in more illnesses and shorter lives.

Individuals in happy marriages tend to live healthier, longer more content lives, indicating that there really is a payoff to having a healthy marriage.

Here are five very meaningful everyday benefits to staying married:

1. A lifetime of shared moments.

We recently spent a week vacationing in a place we love to visit. The first day there, we were driving through the smaller town in the northern woods of Wisconsin reminiscing about some of our favorite places as we passed by. 

It was both a serious and a silly moment for both of us. It started as we turned on a side street and I said, "remember when we were stuck at this corner on our tandem bike because there was so much traffic that we couldn't get across?" 

A half block after the turn, Debbie pointed to a place we like to stop for breakfast and said (with a giggle in her voice) "Remember when we went there and I was so nauseous I couldn't eat anything?" 

I laughed and for the rest of the two-block-long street we took turns pointing to various restaurants, stores and businesses; building on experiences we had at each place, but working hard to exaggerate the actual memories we shared there. 

It was a fun way to remember shared moments of previous years, and we created a new and fun shared moment.  Driving down that street in the future will have an even deeper meaning to both of us. It reminds us of our bond and causes us to feel close.  

Long-term marriages allow both of you to experience life together and to share a multitude of experiences (both fun and sometimes not-so-fun) that are unique to the two of you. 

Take the time to reminisce with your spouse and don't be afraid of bringing up shared moments when they come to mind, even if it is something that brings tears.  It will strengthen your bond.

2. A uniquely secure connection. 

We are social creatures, and according to Genesis 2:18; "Then the Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper who is just right for him" (The New Living Translation).

We were designed to be in a relationship. Most of us long for closeness with other human beings and, in particular, with our spouse. 

When that relationship is working well, and we feel particularly close, there is a sense of peace and contentment like no other feeling we experience. 

When we are at odds with each other and the relationship is experiencing tension and division, we have a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs and a marked lack of peace. 

A healthy, caring, close connection with our spouse helps all of us to experience a sense of peace knowing that we are not alone, regardless of what we may be facing in life.

3. Common goals and someone to pursue them with. 

There is a place in a healthy marriage for each spouse to support and encourage each other toward both individual and mutual goals. 

This is not really a place for resentment and rivalry. It is ruinous in a relationship when one spouse is continually keeping score and allowing resentment to build, simply because the other is working on completing and fulfilling a goal or dream. 

We should encourage and support each other to reach out and work toward the goals and objectives that are important. 

To be fair, there needs to be a balance between adequate and proper care and attention to your spouse while you apply yourself toward a worthy goal. The right kind of support and cheering on will endear your spouse to you, strengthen your long-term bond and build your spouse’s self-esteem as a result of your belief in their ability to "git er' done".

4. Mastering the skill and art of respectful, clear communication. 

In healthy marriages, we learn over time how to listen to and communicate with each other. 

As we deepen in our understanding with our spouse and their outlook on life, we also see ways in which our thoughts, outlook, and perspective on life differ from each other. 

In long-term marriages, we learn how to discuss differences and challenge each other’s thinking without taking it as a personal attack. I believe that this is both a skill and an art. 

I also believe that it takes time, patience, practice and some experimentation to pull this off successfully. 

In other words, it can be hard work for both of you to get this one down, but there is a great payoff on many levels. As a young pastor many years ago, I was involved in an intense conversation with a much older parishioner regarding some significant changes I was in a hurry to implement in my new church. 

The thing she said that really got my attention was that I was, "chinking away at her foundation," and it was hard for her. I understood that I needed to take the time to understand her thoughts and feelings and to do a better job of explaining what I had in mind and why. 

The more you are able to exercise that skill in your marriage, the better your chances of influencing the thinking of your spouse.

5. A healthier lifestyle. 

Have you ever had the experience of setting out to change some of your health habits and patterns? 

You had a grand plan to get up early and work out or stop by the gym on the way home from work or change to a healthier diet. 

If you were alone in your endeavor, would it be harder to maintain the discipline? Many of us do much better with this if we have a partner to join us, encourage us, and occasionally hold us accountable. 

One of the benefits that many couples experience in a long-term marriage is that they have a partner who helps them stick with better health practices.

Making your marriage last for a lifetime can be hard work, and it can be equally rewarding and extremely beneficial to you emotionally, psychologically and physically.  The payoff is definitely there, the hard work is pulling it off for the long haul.

Drs. David and Debbie McFadden are a husband-and-wife team specializing in helping struggling and distressed couples throughout the US and Canada.  Contact them for a free 20 minute consult to learn about their couples’ intensive program.

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