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What is a healthy marriage?

At some point in your life, chances are you will get married. If and when that day arrives, it will be good to know how to keep your marriage healthy.

RelationshipsHealthy marriages are not perfect marriages. A couple's marriage may be healthy to varying degrees and go through ups and downs over time.

You can learn relationship skills that make for a healthy marriage. If a couple is willing and motivated, they can learn how to build and maintain a healthy marriage.

Each individual will bring personal strengths or challenges to the relationship that make having a healthy marriage easier or harder. It will be easier to build a healthy marriage if both people have allowed themselves time to finish their education, become self-supporting and mature.

A couple's individual circumstances, cultural background, resources, etc. will influence the way they perceive and experience marriage. All these things should be taken into consideration when assessing whether a marriage is healthy or not.

Characteristics of a healthy marriage

Commitment: spouses take a long-term view of the relationship. They intend to hang in there when the going gets tough. They are dedicated to making the marriage work, which means they sometimes make personal sacrifices for the good of the relationship. They also are committed to any children they have from their own or previous relationships.

Fidelity: spouses are faithful to each other and honor their commitments.

Acceptance of one another: spouses accept each other for who they are. When one person tries to get another person to change, they are usually met with resistance.

Marriage Handbook

[When You Get Married is an Attorney General handbook that provides information and ideas for couples preparing for marriage.]

Trust: husband and wife trust each other. Each person acts in ways that 1) show they trust their spouse and 2) show that they are trustworthy.

Intimacy, love and affection: spouses express feelings of love, caring and deep connection with one another. They also act in ways that enable their spouse to feel cared for and appreciated, by spending time together, for example, showing physical affection, saying sweet things, giving gifts, etc.

Shared activities and friendship: spouses have positive interactions and do enjoyable things together on a regular basis.

Communication: spouses are honest with each other. They say what's on their mind rather than holding things in, and they really listen to each other. They talk respectfully to each other.

Conflict resolution: spouses listen to each other carefully when there is a conflict. They use problem-solving skills, talk about past conflicts, acknowledge mistakes, apologize, forgive and learn from their mistakes.

Lack of violence: a high level of conflict or violence of any kind in a marriage, it is not healthy and has a negative impact on children.

Satisfaction with the relationship: overall, spouses are satisfied with the marriage, although levels of satisfaction typically go up and down at different points in the relationship.



Talk about it
Healthy relationships
Teens as parents
When it's scary
Dating Violence
What's a parent?
The legal father
What to expect
What it takes
Facts of life
Team parenting
Tips for parents


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