The Mating Grounds

Unlocking the Secrets to a Successful Marriage: 5 Key Characteristics and Obstacles to Avoid

How to Have a Successful Marriage: Key Ingredients and Obstacles to Avoid

Marriage is one of the most important decisions we make in life. It’s a commitment to share our lives with another person and build a future together.

While love and passion are essential components of a happy and successful marriage, they are not enough. To build a lasting and fulfilling relationship, we also need to develop certain skills and attitudes that will help us navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with marriage.

In this article, we’ll discuss the key characteristics of successful marriages, as well as the main reasons why marriages can fail. We’ll offer practical advice and insights that will help you build a healthy and thriving relationship with your partner.

Characteristic 1: Compromise

When two people live together and share their lives, they will inevitably have disagreements and conflicts. This is natural and healthy, as it allows each partner to express their opinion and needs.

However, if we don’t learn to compromise and find common ground, these disagreements can turn into resentment and lead to the breakdown of the relationship. Compromise means finding a solution that works for both partners, even if it means sacrificing some of our own preferences or desires.

It requires us to be open-minded, empathetic, and willing to consider different perspectives. If we approach disagreements with the mindset of “winning” or being right, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

The key to successful compromise is communication. We need to talk and listen to each other to understand our partner’s point of view and find a solution that respects both of our needs.

This doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything – sometimes, compromise means agreeing to disagree and respecting each other’s position. Characteristic 2: Turn Setbacks to Growth Opportunities

No marriage is perfect, and setbacks and conflicts will inevitably arise.

However, successful couples view these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as obstacles to be avoided. Trials and setbacks can help us understand ourselves and our partner better, as well as develop resilience and problem-solving skills.

Instead of avoiding or denying conflicts, we need to face them head-on and work together to find a solution. To turn a setback into a growth opportunity, we need to adjust our mindset and see it as a chance to learn and improve.

We need to be willing to put in the effort and time to resolve conflicts and find a solution that works for both partners. It may mean seeking the help of a counselor or therapist, or simply taking a break and reflecting on our own behavior and attitudes.

Characteristic 3: Work Together

Marriage is a partnership, and successful couples work together to achieve common goals and overcome challenges. This means sharing responsibilities, whether they are financial, household, or child-related, and being willing to support each other in times of need.

At times, we may feel incompatible with our partner and struggle to find common ground. However, successful couples know that being compatible doesn’t mean agreeing on everything.

It means being willing to compromise and find creative solutions that respect both partners’ needs and preferences. Working together also means being able to problem-solve as a team.

Instead of blaming or criticizing each other, we need to approach challenges as a shared responsibility and brainstorm different solutions. This requires trust, honesty, and a willingness to be vulnerable and open with our feelings and needs.

Characteristic 4: Stop Fault-Finding

One of the biggest obstacles to a successful marriage is unrealistic expectations and a focus on faults and flaws. When we enter into marriage with a checklist of what our partner should look like or act like, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Successful couples learn to appreciate and accept their partner’s unique qualities and imperfections, rather than focusing on what’s missing or wrong. This doesn’t mean we accept abusive or unhealthy behavior, but it does mean we approach our partner with a spirit of kindness and compassion.

To stop fault-finding, we need to examine our own expectations and attitudes and see if they are realistic and fair. We also need to learn to communicate our appreciation and gratitude for our partner’s positive qualities and actions, rather than only pointing out what’s wrong.

Characteristic 5: Communicate

Communication is the lifeblood of any healthy relationship, and marriage is no exception. Successful couples learn to talk and listen to each other with openness and empathy, rather than defensiveness or anger.

This means being willing to express our feelings and needs honestly and respectfully, as well as listening to our partner’s point of view without judgment or interruption. It also means being willing to find compromise and common ground, even when we don’t agree on everything.

Effective communication also requires us to be mindful of our tone and language. We need to avoid criticism, blame, and negative language, and focus instead on using “I” statements and expressing our own feelings and needs.

Reasons Why Marriages Succeed or Fail

While the characteristics of successful marriages are essential ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life together, there are also some common reasons why marriages can fail. By understanding these factors, we can learn to avoid them and build a stronger and healthier relationship with our partner.

Reason 1: Unrealistic Expectations

One of the main reasons why marriages can fail is unrealistic expectations. Many of us have grown up with a generic recipe of what marriage should look like, without considering the unique qualities and challenges of our own personality and situation.

When we have unrealistic expectations of our partner or ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. We may feel like we’re not living up to an ideal or that our partner is not meeting our standards.

This can lead to feelings of resentment and withdrawal, which can poison the relationship over time. The key to avoiding unrealistic expectations is to focus on the unique qualities and strengths of our partnership, rather than comparing ourselves to an external standard.

We need to communicate honestly and openly with our partner about our needs and desires, while also being willing to compromise and adjust our expectations as we learn and grow together. Reason 2: Divorce Rates

Another factor that can contribute to the failure of marriages is the high divorce rate in the United States and other countries.

In 2020, the divorce rate in the US was around 39%, which means that almost 4 in 10 marriages end in divorce. While divorce can be a necessary and healthy option in some cases, it can also be a sign that we’re not giving our relationship the attention and effort it deserves.

We may be avoiding conflict or neglecting our own needs and desires, which can lead to a breakdown of communication and trust. To avoid becoming another statistic, we need to stay committed to our relationship and be willing to put in the effort and time required to maintain a healthy and fulfilling partnership.

This may mean seeking professional help or counseling, as well as being willing to take a step back and reevaluate our own desires and priorities. Reason 3: Compatibility

Another factor that can contribute to the success or failure of a marriage is compatibility.

While it’s essential to share some common values and interests with our partner, it’s also important to recognize that differences and challenges will arise in any relationship. Successful couples view these differences as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as threats or obstacles.

They learn to communicate honestly and openly about their hopes and dreams, as well as their fears and insecurities. If we feel like we’re not compatible with our partner, it may be a sign that we need to examine our own desires and expectations, as well as communicate more openly and honestly with our partner.

It may also mean seeking the help of a professional who can guide us in finding common ground and ways to maximize our unique strengths and qualities. Reason 4: Mindset

Finally, another important factor that can influence the success or failure of a marriage is our own mindset and attitudes.

If we approach our relationship with a negative or critical mindset, we’re setting ourselves up for discontent and frustration. Successful couples learn to focus on the positive aspects of their partnership, while also being willing to address challenges and conflicts in a proactive and respectful way.

They learn to communicate with empathy and understanding, while also setting healthy boundaries and expectations. To avoid falling into a negative mindset, we need to be aware of our own thoughts and attitudes, as well as our beliefs and values.

We may need to challenge our own assumptions and expectations, as well as seek support and guidance from our partner and other trusted sources.


Marriage is a complex and rewarding journey that requires us to develop certain skills and attitudes to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with it. By focusing on key characteristics of successful marriages and avoiding common obstacles and pitfalls, we can build a happy and fulfilling relationship with our partner.

Remember, a successful marriage is built on compromise, communication, and a commitment to grow and learn together. In conclusion, building a successful and thriving marriage requires us to develop certain skills and attitudes, such as compromise, communication, and a willingness to find common ground.

We also need to avoid common obstacles, such as unrealistic expectations and a negative mindset. By focusing on these key characteristics and avoiding these pitfalls, we can build a lasting and fulfilling union with our partner.

Remember, a successful marriage requires effort and dedication, but the rewards are well worth it. With the right mindset and approach, we can create a relationship that brings joy, support, and love into our lives for years to come.

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