Recipe for a Successful Marriage

Think of your love as an apple pie. (That’s not hard for me, because I adore apple pie.) While each baker’s recipe may include a few different twists (nutmeg), the core ingredients (apples, sugar) must be there.

Social scientists and demographers have collected so much data on marriage that we now have “divorce-resistant” recipes for success. Deseret News (in Salt Lake City) reported last week on what demographers and sociologists say good marriages have in common. Writer David Yount explains the formulas are “simple to state but demanding to practice.” Anyone who has been married can vouch for how challenging each individual ingredient can be. And, the ingredients must be added daily, not just on a good day. I collected the facts into two different “recipes” that have some similar ingredients.

Divorce-Resistant, Happy Marriage Ingredients:

  • Mutual kindness
  • Respect and reverence
  • Appreciation of spouse as exciting, trustworthy & a sympathetic lover
  • Sensitive to partner’s emotional needs
  • Share household tasks
  • Cooperate in raising children
  • Bonus ingredients that improve your odds: common religious faith and investing in romance

Happy and Permanent Marriage Ingredients (according to the National Marriage Project and the National Opinion Research Center):

  • Similar values
  • Friendship
  • Communication
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Mutual respect
  • Religious faith

*When the above ingredients are present, couples say they would marry the same person again.

Recipe for a complaining spouse:

  • Be dull, unattractive and ill-mannered
  • Have poor personal hygiene
  • Refuse to help around the house

Do you have all the key ingredients for a happy marriage? The good news is that nearly all of the ingredients can be learned or improved. What’s your secret ingredient—the one that adds the spice to your marriage?

*Originally published here at Marriage Gems in September 2009.

Photo courtesy of by Trankov

9 responses to “Recipe for a Successful Marriage

  1. Lori,
    I, too, love apple pie! And I love your recipe above. These sound so simple, yet what’s required to actually produce results is unselfishness. Thank you for sharing this research.

    • Not so easy for a bunch of selfish folks, but you’re right Debi. Learning how to be less selfish is a great goal of marriage. And a decent secondary goal is learning how to make a terrific apple pie. 😉

  2. I think these characteristics are great the key to me is how do we promote these characteristics? How do we get them in our marriage?

    • Only with daily effort to focus on the things that deserve your focus. This blog has lots of tips if you’re interested. I think we’re either improving or falling apart, never holding steady. Good luck.

  3. A daily hug is our secret ingredient. And simply being nice to each other, this is often overlooked!

  4. I agree Lori, I think we are either improving or falling apart too. Each day I focus on doing a couple of small things for my husband or our relationship that will improve our marriage. I do this no matter what else is happening (like if we are mad at each other or don’t agree about something). I’ve created a daily habit of doing it.

  5. Pingback: Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard

  6. Pingback: Recipe for a Successful Marriage | Marriage Gems | Marriage is Unique for A Reason

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