Engaged Couples Who Practice These 5 Habits Have The Highest Marriage Success Rates

Marriage doesn’t come with a manual.

Couple thinking about marriage Mütecevvil,  Mungkhoodstudio's Images | Canva

After the engagement ring is posted on Instagram, the vows said, the doves released, and the dress put in dry storage, comes the reality of married life. As much as we would like to believe it’s all happily ever after, it often isn’t. It can be tough. All you need is awareness and a willingness to act.

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Here are 5 habits of engaged couples who have the highest marriage success rates:

1. They address issues immediately.

One of the most problematic aspects of married life is when communication seems to stop. Sure, there is logistical stuff to discuss. What time you'll be home for dinner, where the kids’ soccer games are this weekend, and what time is brunch with the in-laws on Sunday? But emotionally intimate communication — expressing your feelings, frustrations, hopes, dreams, and longings to one another — too often ceases.


Marriage is a 24/7 commitment. Over long hours, days, and years together, challenging issues arise. If feelings are left unsaid rather than addressed immediately, damaging resentment builds up. It seems too scary to talk and easier not to say anything and silently hover over the dishes or spend longer hours at the office, anything to avoid difficult conversations. If you only take one thing away from this article, know you must keep communicating. Your marriage and life will be better in all ways if you do.

close couple kisses


Photo: AshTproductions via Shutterstock

2. They don't stop being intimate.

Newlyweds may laugh now at the prospect of no longer wanting to have sex with their partner. “That won’t be us,” you may say. But it very well could be. We know anger and resentment build when feelings go unexpressed. For men and women alike, there's no better libido killer than anger and resentment, and ironically enough, there's no better way to create anger and resentment than a lack of sex.

Emotional and physical intimacy are both necessary for maintaining closeness in a marriage. Touching, kissing, feeling loved, and having orgasms are all a big part of this. A marriage without sex is simply a business arrangement, so push past the anger and resentment and make love with your partner. Or, better yet, prevent anger and resentment from arising in the first place by maintaining deep communication and happily making love to one another (pretty much) every night. You'll both be happy you did, in the moment and in the long run.

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3. They practice mutual respect.

There is a saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt". The idea behind this expression is "the longer one knows someone, the more likely they will discover negative things about the other person." Over time, you get to know how your partner looks when flossing their teeth, they leave their pants hanging on the door, the way they slurp their coffee, or they fart in bed. At first, these things seem cute, but as time goes by, they irritate you. They might even repel you.



As psychotherapist Mel Schwartz, LCSW, explains, "When we honor one another, we're not likely to experience contempt ... Contempt is the emotional reaction to not feeling cared for and perhaps disrespected. When we feel valued by our partners, our relationships are inclined to thrive. At the least, this feeling of being valued tends to limit hostility and scorn. When we devalue our partners, contempt becomes very prevalent."

Mutual respect is crucial to any successful marriage. Your partner’s mannerisms or ways of doing things might not match with your own, which can lead to developing a dislike of who they are. And if you don’t like someone, it can be hard to respect them.


Tell your partner if something they do makes it difficult for you to be with them. Don’t just write them off as a lost cause, thinking, “If they loved me, they would do this differently.” We are all human beings trying to do the best we can. If you are honest with yourself, you know they aren’t doing any of those things to spite you. They just do them. They may change these behaviors if asked kindly and with respect. Showing your partner respect allows them to keep respecting you in return. (And sex is way better when you respect your partner, in case you didn’t know.)

4. They have firm boundaries.

No matter how old you are when you get married, you'll have spent many years building habits and participating in specific traditions with your extended family. The holidays are spent just so. Toilet paper rolled so it hangs under vs. over. Sarcasm and in-jokes are shared at every family get-together.

Extended family is a wonderful and vital part of who you are, but when you get married, your priority should be placed on the new family you are creating with your partner. Of course, it’s important to respect each other's family traditions, but if doing so comes at the expense of your relationship, the issues causing a problem must be addressed.

If the birthday tradition on one side has the whole family gathered and lots of gifts exchanged, while the birthday tradition on the other involves quietly celebrating with friends, then a conversation must be had. Both sides of the family should be told, respectfully, that while all family traditions are important, your new family needs freedom to create their traditions. Compromises might need to be reached, but it's important for both partners to feel like their new life as a couple is their own.




5. They know that having a baby changes everything.

I know! Having a baby is so exciting. From “starting to try” to nine months of watching a new life grow to baby showers and childbirth, it’s all so wonderful and new that many partners are growing closer than ever. Until the baby is born, all bets are off.

From day one, you'll be flying by the seat of your pants. Many pregnant people shift their focus from their spouse to their children, with many spouses left wondering what happened to their old lives. Yes, the child is delightful, but little luxuries like dinners out together, time with friends, and free time for athletics are suddenly gone — not to mention the sex.


Be aware of how having a baby will change everything so you can prepare yourselves and allow for it. Everyone will be exhausted, things will be messy, and the next 18 years will be an evolution and a revolution like nothing you've experienced before.

Commit to making it through those years together. Communicate like you did when you were first married, perhaps even more so, have as much sex as you can squeeze into each week, and continue to love and respect each other even as life gets challenging. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.