Thriving Marriage = Healthy Family


Healthy families are made up of healthy individuals—and happy marriages tend to produce thriving, well-adjusted kids. Here are 11 distinctive qualities that are vital to a successful marriage.

Dear Greg,

Sometimes I feel that my wife and I spend so much time in our roles as mom and dad that we neglect our own relationship.  Do we just need to recognize that our needs as a couple have to be put on hold until our kids are older and less demanding?


I think most couples with kids can relate to your dilemma.  I replied last month to a mom who wanted to know how she could help her family thrive.  I pointed out that healthy families are made up of healthy individuals, and that happy, successful marriages tend to produce thriving, well-adjusted kids.  In response to your question, I’d like to expand on that idea.     

If loving, connected spouses make the most effective moms and dads, the best thing you can do for your children is to concentrate on creating the strongest possible bond with your mate.  In addition to respecting and valuing the uniqueness of each spouse’s personality (a key trait I emphasized last month), there are at least eleven other distinctive qualities we’ve identified here at Focus on the Family that are equally vital for successful marriages.  Here’s a brief look at them:      

1.  Lifelong Commitment 

Marriage is a lifelong adventure, filled with triumphs and defeats.  Couples who understand this enter their relationship with the attitude that despite the challenges of life, they are dedicated to one another and won’t throw in the towel when times get tough.   

2.  Shared Spiritual Intimacy

Thriving couples share a deep faith.  They look to their Creator as the foundation of their relationship.    

3.  Positive Communication 

Communication is the heart and soul of any vibrant relationship.  It’s important for husbands and wives to spend lots of time talking and trying to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings.

4.  Healthy Conflict Management 

The key to marital success lies in the way a couple handles the inevitable conflicts of marriage – i.e., by keeping short accounts and not letting anger fester.     

5.  Spending Enjoyable Time Together 

Thriving couples are intentional about spending enjoyable time together.  They schedule regular date nights and develop meaningful family traditions.

6.  Cherish 

Successful marriages are made up of two people who treasure and honor one another.  You can do this by writing down a list of the things you value about your mate, reviewing it often, and sharing it with them. 

7.  Nourish 

Nourishing is a matter of discovering your mate’s “love language” and learning to use it to express affection. 

8.  Shared Responsibility 

Couples with vibrant relationships talk openly about their roles in the home.  They hammer out a workable plan that preserves fairness in the way it divides household tasks and responsibilities.

9.  Mutually Satisfying Physical Intimacy 

Thriving couples regularly celebrate their marriage with physical intimacy.  They understand that this includes affection, tenderness, warmth, and physical touch. 

10.  Coping with Change, Stress, and Crises 

Successful husbands and wives recognize that external trials and pressures will come upon them.  They prepare for hard times and make provisions for seeking outside help when needed. 

11.  Community Minded 

Healthy marriage partners realize that they need other people and other people need them.  They are involved in supportive communities where they have many opportunities to give and receive encouragement.  

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