What's the Secret to a Great Marriage?


Secrets of Great Marriages book cover
I picked up a book at the library the other day titled Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth From Real Couples About Lasting Love written by Charlie and Linda Bloom, a long-married couple who are also therapists. For the book, they interviewed 27 couples who had been happily married for an average of 30 years.

The day I picked up this book was the day that my husband of almost four years (my second marriage) yelled at me. He's never yelled at me before. We're not yellers and he's usually a man of great patience.

Ironic, huh? Perfect timing, too.

I couldn't wait to be able to sit down at the end of the day and start reading the Blooms' book. And learn what made these marriages succeed.

When I was in college, my friends and I talked about what we called "genius marriages." We defined this kind of marriage as one where the couple seemed perfect together -- not that their lives were perfect, but that the way they lived their lives, and especially lived them together, was "genius." Something to aspire to.

The couples in the Blooms' book have had their fair share of adversity and life challenges. Each story shares a common thread of commitment, empathy, and the couples' ability to step back and analyze their individual roles (both positive and negative) in the marriage.

After my husband yelled at me, we didn't really speak to each other for a few days. After reading some of the book, I decided that I should step back and look at what had happened in the aftermath of our incident. When I did, I was able to see a pattern in our past behavior, on the infrequent occasions we have fought, and to see how damaging this pattern is to our relationship. And I want to change it. Actually, both of us want to change it.

I love my husband. I want us to have a "genius marriage." It won't be easy but it'll be worth it. Reading Secrets of Great Marriages and learning from others' experiences is one step to getting there.

What do you think is the secret to a great marriage?


Image via Barnes & Noble

marriage, books, relationships


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mamas... mamasloves

i'm going to see about getyting that book b/c i'm not happy with my marriage and I KNOW THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE NEED TO WORK ONbut don't know how to do it. i 've mention marriage counseling but he won't and i don't know what else to do!

TLParker TLParker

From what I've learn in my short marriage (& our own issues) is that honesty is a must. No matter what you're hiding, for what ever reason, hurts much worse when it does come out than the actual issue at hand. Open communication is key. There are a ton of other things but those are the specific problems and solutions I've had to deal with so far.

TLParker TLParker

Oh, I forgot something. My grandmother always said to choose your battles wisely. If it was something you'd remember 20 years from then, then it was probably worth mentioning. That has helped me out a lot. I am quick to speak sometimes.

nonmember avatar Jessy

I would highly recommend reading anything by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Julie. They are a longtime married couple who are also therapists like the authors of your book. They write in depth about the characteristics of couple who succeed and fail and have been researching and developing scientific back up for their points. It's all really interesting stuff! They are some of the most highly respected people in their field.

nonmember avatar kirk

what i think is the secret to a great marriage is so simple.you need to live everyday like its the fist day you both fell in love.the love must continue to grow and never weaken.being honest and open mined to each other is a good medicine.I love my wife more today than the day I married her.I live for her and our son.I guess i can say iam blessed in many ways.A marriage is something that is work in progress never ending,always learning.yes there is true and unconditional love.take it from my experience.

nonmember avatar Ashok

A great and very good marriage lies in giving up the habit of control and command.Events will occur take a step back and look at larger picture than getting in face.Remember three things once they leave donot come back. Life from body,arrow from a bow and words from mouth.Wounded by words will never forgive you.

Dean DuBois

Unconditional love is only consistently sustainable by God, humans can not do that. And I agree with what the Bible says the order of a family should be (1st spouse,2nd kids,3rd in laws,4th friends). Anyway the key to a happy marriage is having God at its center and then truth and communication etc. People that do not think marriage is work are kidding themselves and theirs will fall apart. Also keeping the in laws out of it would also be wise. The Bible says that " the two shall leave their mother and father and become one". If you are adult enough to get married then you should be adult enough to work on your marriage without help from the in laws. After all its not their marriage. If you need help with your marriage their is an instructional manual already printed. And its the most sold book ever printed, that`s right, the Bible. Man`s wisdom is fallible and God`s word is not. If your a Godly woman I am available. :)

House... HouseofTwits

Becoming true friends--genuinely best friends--is key to a successful relationship, and that friendship naturally generates the honesty and respect that are also fundamental elements of a happy marriage.  Marriages that lack friendship, honesty, and respect don't tend to last very long. 

In the very early days of our relationship, when my hubby and I were very young, an older married couple told us that their 50+ year marriage was successful because they gave each other "150%" every day, since the "100%" rule falls short.  Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy (yes, that was their real name) said that on some days, a person can only give their partner 75%, or even a mere 50%.  So, if our partner fills in that missing percent for us on days when we fall short, as a couple we're still at 200%.  So to speak... it made a lot of sense at the time and is a rule we live by.

For a happy marriage, both partners must commit to unconditional love and friendship, a commitment that naturally produces honesty and respect.

This commitment to friendship, honesty, and respect has worked for us... hubby and I celebrate our 30th anniversary in February 2012.  And yes, we regularly send prayers of thanks heaven-ward to the Lovejoys for their wonderful advice! :)

Naledge Naledge

I asked myself the same question! "what is the secret to a perfect marriage?"..when two unperfect people are married?...I believe you have to have communication in order to make anything last...I'm just scared of marriage!..Scared of being with the same person, putting my all in this one person, and years down the line it doesn't work out!..I would not be able to love again...So tell me please what is the KEY!..


Barry Bentley

If this is a good book of real marriage success it could not have been written in America.

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