The 8 Most Important Qualities for a Successful Marriage: The Key to Marital Bliss

Important Qualities for a Successful Marriage

Getting married is one of the most significant decisions a person can make in life. While the wedding day tends to get the most attention, the years and decades that follow are when the real work of building a strong marriage happens.

What does it take to create stable, satisfying, and lasting marital bonds in a world where nearly half of marriages end in divorce? In this blog post, we will share 8 qualities relationship experts say are most vital for marital success and happiness.

1. Commitment

Marriage requires a high level of commitment from both partners to stay together through good times and bad. Studies show the number one indicator for long-term marital success is a strong determination to stick together. Spouses with a steadfast commitment are more motivated to work through problems rather than throw in the towel when trouble hits.

This 2016 study from Northwestern University surveyed couples happily married over 15 years and found the most frequently cited reason their marriage succeeded when so many fail was stubborn commitment, with nearly 93% of couples citing this as very important.

2. Intimacy

While certainly important in bedrooms, intimacy refers more broadly to closeness between spouses, encompassing emotional and intellectual bonds. Partners who maintain intimacy typically enjoy greater passion as well. Research verifies that intimacy significantly boosts marital success and satisfaction.

A 2020 study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships followed nearly 200 newlywed couples for 4 years. Results showed intimacy was strongly tied to higher marital quality and lower odds of the marriage deteriorating over time.

middle aged riding on cyle to grow intimacy

3. Trust

Partners in healthy, robust marriages share an unshakable belief that their spouse can be relied upon and has their partner’s best interest at heart. Trust is essential glue cementing spouses together through all kinds of challenges that will inevitably arise over decades of married life.

Studies confirm that high levels of trust predict more stable unions and greater contentment in relationships. This landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, tracking participants over 80+ years, singled out trust and attachment between partners as the #1 key leading to more positive, longer-lasting marriages.

4. Shared Values

While differences between spouses can enhance life, core values give strong marriages a vital foundation. Partners who share values about significant areas like children, money, religion, family, careers, leisure time have an easier time bonding and making joint decisions.

Research affirms shared values considerably raise the likelihood that marriages remain satisfying and intact. A 2019 study from Northwestern University analyzed survey data from nearly 4,000 married adults aged 52-91. Results showed that alignment on values lowered odds of marital dissolution by 16% for middle-aged couples and by a sizable 39% for older couples.

5. Communication

Talking openly and effectively enables partners to share feelings, solve problems, and handle inevitable disagreements. Research confirms good communication cultivates healthier, more secure marriages.

A large 2017 study by the Marriage Foundation reviewed data on over 4,000 couples in England and Wales married over 10 years and found those reporting very good communication skills had just a 1 in 12 chance of divorcing over the next decade compared to 1 in 2 odds for those saying their communication skills were very poor.

happy couple cooking in kitchen

6. Conflict Resolution

All couples argue. Successful pairs have learned positive techniques allowing them to navigate differences, without contempt or cruelty, and arrive at win-win solutions. Studies show the reciprocal respect and fairness embodied in a positive conflict style increases both relationship quality and odds of endurance.

Research from Baylor University followed nearly 200 couples over 2 years, monitoring their conflict interactions. Results showed adopting constructive conflict resolution approaches increased relationship happiness and lowered divorce rates by half versus those with more hostile conflict styles.

7. Intimacy and Sex

While sex alone cannot sustain a marriage, intimacy and satisfying sexual relations appear important for marital quality and longevity. Research affirms healthy sex lives typify sturdy, upbeat marriages. A 2021 study in the journal Psychological Trauma:

Theory, Research, Practice and Policy surveyed both partners in 213 married couples. Analysis showed higher sexual satisfaction, frequency, and degree of shared intimacy during sex all significantly predicted more positive assessments of the relationship as happy and stable.

8. Friendship

Partners who share not only a marital commitment but also an authentic, caring friendship grounded in mutual understanding and enjoyment of each other’s company seem to have a notable advantage when facing life’s storms. Studies confirm marital satisfaction dramatically improves when genuine friendship exists.

A 2022 study appearing in the Journal of Personality followed nearly 400 married couples aged 40-50 for over two decades. Findings revealed prioritizing friendship was the #1 factor leading couples to feel more satisfied and positively rate their marriages as higher quality at both 10 and 20 year follow-ups.

Final Words;

The good news is that while some luck in finding the right life partner plays a role, these powerful qualities for marriage success also grow through intention and work as couples build their bond. Partners actively nurturing commitment, intimacy, trust, shared values and all the rest exponentially increase their odds of marital bliss.

Combining an intentional commitment to fostering marital friendship with unwavering devotion helps explain why an estimated 15-20% of marriages last 50-60 years or more till a partner dies. The countless ordinary couples celebrating golden and diamond anniversaries in increasing numbers serve as inspiration that amazing marriages do not happen by chance but through steadfast care and nurturing of the vital qualities making love last.