More threads by Retired


What are the elements of a successful marital relationship and what contributes to a breakdown in a relationship?

If you have been fortunate to enjoy a successful marriage, what advice would you offer to someone starting out?

If your relationship failed, what you advise young people to look out for?

When a relationship runs into trouble, what is required to get it back on track?


My parents have a successful marriage. They have been together for 26 (almost 27) years. I have asked my mom these sorts of questions in the past, and she said that its important to sort out your issues before your married. Like whether or not you want kids, religious issues, etc. You don't want to find out after your married that your partner doesn't want kids, and your dying for them.


sort out your issues before your married

Some people will say as the years go by they "grow" and become different people. As such their perspectives change and so do their views. Can these very important issues be dealt with successfullyafter the fact or are issues such as children, religion and perhaps financial planning cause irreparable harm?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I think it's a huge mistake to ASSUME that they will change in the way you hope after marriage - I have worked with couples where that was the issue that led to ending the marriage.

The other side of that coin is that ALL people evolve and grow over time and consequently so do relationships between people. Where the two individuals (and the relationship) evolve and grow in the same direction or at least in compatible directions, the relationship remains healthy. Otherwise, you start to see disconnection and decay.


I think good, open communication throughout the relationship is a key factor in a good marriage, or any good relationship. You've got to talk, and you've got to talk honestly. If disagreements come up, each partner needs to be willing to comprimise, and to find a solution to the problem as a unit.

Sometimes, people really do grow apart. They become different people than they were when they met and married. That's not a bad thing, really, but it can mean that the marriage is no longer viable. With some effort and understanding, people like this can end the marriage but remain friends. My mother did so. She and my father are close friends, but they realize they could never live together as husband and wife. It just wouldn't work. Yet, now that he's ill, guess where he's come to stay? ;)

just mary

I'm trying to think of the couples I know (both young and old) that seem to have good marriages.

What is a good marriage? Is it two happy people?
it's 2 happy people, but - what makes them happy? we were happy, then something happened to make me depressed, and we were NOT happy. in that case depression was a major drain on the marriage. however after some counselling we are back on track and very happy with each other, despite me still being depressed (things are getting better for me).

i think what makes a good marriage is willingness to work at it. you have to make time for each other. you have to show each other you care. (you have to agree before marriage on things like sex, children and finances etc as mentioned by someone else). i think you have to basically be good friends, and be open with each other and not shut each other out. that's what happened to us for a while. and somehow if you think you need to get some help with the relationship then both need to agree to do that and commit to that. i find that i am happiest when my husband and i connect and bond. and that is only possible if you make time for one another, despite your children.

not sure what other thoughts i have. those are the first things that come to mind. implied with all of the above is love and respect for one another and a willingness to compromise on things you disagree about.


I think a happy marriage consists of two people who can be happy together when things are going well, and can share sadness and disappointment when things aren't going so well. I think they are people who laugh together and cry together with the same committment to support one another.
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