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What does a happy marriage/relationship look like to you?

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#1 BeStill

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:20 AM

For you to have a happy marriage, what do you think you need? I'm wanting to discuss this with my DH as we have hit a rut and we are not getting what we need.

Some things that are important to me (roughly in order of importance but some are probably equal):
  • Appreciation (verbal especially) for what I do for our family day to day(I feel taken for granted).
  • Kindness (in words and actions, just general courtesies and patience and friendliness).
  • Non sexual affection (in addition to sexual attention).
  • Sharing the mental load with kids (in a way I can rely on and not feel it will be neglected or forgotten if I don't remind him).
  • Empathy in communication, interest in my life.
  • Ability and willingness to readily apologise
  • Willingness and commitment to parenting well (including learning more where needed)
  • Sense of fun, wanting to make memories as a family, not looking at everything as "too hard"
  • Practical help around the house (but not at the expense of other things).

#2 Jingleflea

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:35 AM

Shared sense of humour.

Shared parenting style, no smacking for example.

The odd thank you, i don't need to be thanked for everything I do, and I don't thank him for every little thing either.

A cup of tea every night at 9pm!

Not being too selfish and not consulting with me about activities or him going out without us.  

I don't care about sex to be honest, i can live without it, but I do like shared jokes and smiles etc.

I'm sure there's more.

#3 froglett

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:40 AM

For our marriage it comes down to one word. Trying.

As long as both parties are trying (in all facets, parenting, work, housework, sex, affection etc), then we're happy.

#4 seayork2002

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:43 AM

 Jenflea, on 12 June 2019 - 10:35 AM, said:

Shared sense of humour.

Shared parenting style, no smacking for example.

The odd thank you, i don't need to be thanked for everything I do, and I don't thank him for every little thing either.

A cup of tea every night at 9pm!

Not being too selfish and not consulting with me about activities or him going out without us.  

I don't care about sex to be honest, i can live without it, but I do like shared jokes and smiles etc.

I'm sure there's more.

Far out - exactly this (IMO) 100% - including the tea about that exact time!

Edited by seayork2002, 12 June 2019 - 10:43 AM.

#5 BeStill

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:44 AM

Oooh tea at 9pm. I like it!

#6 purplekitty

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:45 AM

Consideration and understanding.

Everything flows from that.

#7 rainne

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:53 AM

I can't put it into a list, but the basis of our happy marriage is feeling valued and respected by one another.

How that manifests includes:

- thanking one another for contributions to the house. We don't thank each other for every single little thing we do, of course, but if I notice that he's emptied the bins again even though I know he did it the last few times I'll acknowledge it, or he'll thank me for cooking and comment if it looks like I went to some effort, or I'll thank him for taking the initiative to book my car in for a service - just making sure the other person knows that their acts of service are noticed and appreciated.
- asking one another's opinions on things, whether mundane ("do you think I should buy DD1 a new jumper?") or otherwise ("you were raised Catholic, what do you think about the Pell conviction?"). We both feel like our input is valued and sought out.
- spontaneous moments of affection and making sure the other person feels desired. Neither of us are very touchy-feely, but we'll give each other a hug or a peck on the cheek, or compliment an outfit or hair style, or whatever.
- making space for the other person to have quality time/enabling one another's self-care; I'll take the kids out for an afternoon so he can paint, or he'll encourage me out for a run.

Also things like a shared sense of humour and similar values, but I think those are already there or they aren't: I don't know how you'd work on them.

#8 Soontobegran

Posted 12 June 2019 - 11:49 AM

It looks like ours.

We are polar opposites in all things personality and interests but we are completely together when it came to raising our children and our life goals. We respected each others careers too and worked at being fair when it came to time off etc.

We allow each other space and time which means we both have holidays away from each other and we do not discourage the time spent doing what each of us like doing individually.

We argue almost daily about something but we do not ever go to sleep without 'making up'. This does not mean we agree, it just means we both think it is not worth arguing about.

We have had trials in our lives with health and children and extended family drama but this has strengthened the glue rather than divided us.

It was 43 years in May, we were 20 when we got married. People said it wouldn't last but I love him just as much but differently to that 20 year old.

#9 lizzzard

Posted 12 June 2019 - 11:59 AM

Stbg, your marriage is an inspiration to me and I’m sure many others on EB! Thankyou for being so open about it :)

Edited by lizzzard, 12 June 2019 - 12:00 PM.

#10 tarrie cat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:03 PM

 Jenflea, on 12 June 2019 - 10:35 AM, said:

A cup of tea every night at 9pm!

My dad does this for my mum pretty much every night. Been married for 50 years so there's obviously something to it!

#11 seayork2002

Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:09 PM

 tarrie cat, on 12 June 2019 - 12:03 PM, said:

My dad does this for my mum pretty much every night. Been married for 50 years so there's obviously something to it!

We have been together 20 years, DH used to do this for me every night but with DS going to bed later I have been doing this lately while they do story/wrestle/I get to jump on daddy's head time then we have tea and digestive biscuits and try and calm ourselves down from all the excitement :smile:

#12 Freddie'sMum

Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:24 PM

I think there are a few fundamentals that are essential in a happy marriage / relationship - love, trust, respect - and once they are gone or broken, I believe it's almost impossible to repair these fundamentals.

#13 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:25 PM

 purplekitty, on 12 June 2019 - 10:45 AM, said:

Consideration and understanding.

Everything flows from that.

That’s what works for us. I am considerate and understanding when he is stressed and overworked st work, he is considerate and understanding when the kids are driving me mad. These things may often be simultaneously happening, but we still remain considerate and understanding of the other.

#14 Ozquoll

Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:39 PM

 tarrie cat, on 12 June 2019 - 12:03 PM, said:

My dad does this for my mum pretty much every night. Been married for 50 years so there's obviously something to it!
My grandmother and her long-term partner (40+ years) were a very cute couple and completely devoted to each other. We all found it charming that he brought her toast and freshly squeezed orange juice in bed every morning without fail. It wasn’t till after he died that my grandmother mentioned that he did it partly because he was an early riser and he thought she should be too 😆!

#15 Kallie88

Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:10 PM

I think for me respect is a big one. Dh and I work well as a team because there's mutual respect, we're equals in the relationship, so both our contributions matter, both our thoughts matter, both our consent matters etc. Even though we have lots of points of difference, respect means we can use our strengths to their best ability to get us ahead as a couple, and trust each other with them.

The respect thing also I think means we talk more, we want to know how the other feels/ thinks about different things, and I suppose this means we tend to be on a similar page with things and that we feel valued by the other. If I'm feeling disconnected the easiest way to bring u.s together is to put on an interesting documentary and talk about it. I guess we're both thinkers in a lot of ways, so a good debate draws us in.

Physical affection and sex are big ones for me, and tend to be where dh and I differ the most as a couple and have the most issues. I tend to feel like I do all the giving in this aspect, respecting his low libido and get very little in return. We're working on it though and even when I'm feeling resentful I believe dh tries when he thinks of it, so trying resonated with me from above. Not just in this, but particularly in this because if I didn't think he tried at all what would be the point? I think I'd just give up and that would be the beginning of the end.

#16 BadCat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:46 PM

No idea.  Thought I had one.  I was wrong.

For me now, happy marriage looks like something I don't want anymore.  Because I don't think it's possible for me.

Edited by BadCat, 12 June 2019 - 02:46 PM.

#17 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:11 PM


Affection (this doesn't necessarily mean sex)

Open communication


Similar values

Shared sense of humour

Kindness, empathy and understanding towards each other

Trust/belief in each other

And the desire to divorce each other to never align on the same day :rofl:

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 12 June 2019 - 03:34 PM.

#18 TrixieBelden

Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:23 PM

I think kindness. To each other and to people outside of the relationship.

I actively looked for a partner who was kind. If it’s missing - you can’t ever fill that hole. I had made the mistake before of being in love with a man who was not kind. He was funny and charming and ambitious - but he was not kind to strangers. It was foolish of me to know that and imagine he’d be kind to me.

Edited by TrixieBelden, 12 June 2019 - 03:23 PM.

#19 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:28 PM

good will towards each other. patience and tolerance. a shared sense of humour. and don’t hold grudges.

#20 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:50 PM

This is tricky for me to answer.
Most people would look at my parents and say 45 years of marriage, 5 kids, 15 grandkids, cancer, strokes etc and still together. And they don’t outwardly fight. And they look happy.
However, dad snaps and grumbles over the smallest things. And mum is responsible for keeping him happy. She has her own interests she gets out and into. He doesn’t. And he is nasty about everyone, frequently and she just rolls her eyes.

What makes my relationship happy is simple. I feel supported and loved and valued. It’s nice. I’m also attempting to unlearn being responsible for someone else’s moods. It’s all the little things that make me feel loved.
We also laugh. A lot. And discuss big ideas and don’t always agree.

#21 -Emissary-

Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:07 PM

Everything my parents’ wasn’t.

I really don’t know as I’m still in my honeymoon period with DH but I know that one of the important thing to me is respect - if we can continue to respect and love each other then that would hopefully lead to a happy marriage for a long time.

Edited by -Emissary-, 12 June 2019 - 09:07 PM.

#22 night jasmine

Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:17 PM

In addition to basic good virtues that apply to everyone - like kindness and respect - for me it’s communication, sense of humour and shared values.

#23 Ellie bean

Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:32 PM

I’d add appreciation for paid work. If I’ve spent 20 minutes asking how your day at home with the kids was and listening to everything, have the courtesy to ask how my day was!
Surprise me by buying me unexpected chocolates (gotta admit my DH excels at this!)
Being a team (we are good at this too)

#24 2bundles

Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:35 PM

I’m in a happy marriage, but I was still nodding my head at your list!

Don’t sweat the small stuff, trust each other, enjoy each other’s company, but also apart time. Being on the same page with difficult kid issues has been a big factor for us.

#25 JoanJett

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:00 PM

I don't believe in the concept of a "happy" marriage. It's too twee for me.  If it's worthwhile, for me, a relationship needs to challenge, provoke and inspire.  It's a dynamic entity that waxes  and wanes and needs attending to.  It's often uncomfortable, sometimes unwanted, but overall worth persisting with because it enriches both of your lives.  

What I value in our relationship:

honesty-  I prefer honest appraisal to the signals of "kindness", it's more real and provokes me to evaluate myself. You can have both, but sometimes, honesty requires a partner to confront the other.

growth - there's no way I want to be with someone who hasn't changed since we met, and I can't for a moment be the person "formed" when we married in our 30s

respect - we can disagree about the fundamentals, but acknowledge another point of view

independence - if  we can't each have our own space to grow, experience and develop, what are we bringing to the table

And then kismet - all the reasons we found each other.  A shared sense of humour, intellectual interests, values, physical attraction, a commitment to keeping "the flame" burning.

Also, I don't think there's anything wrong with going to bed angry with your partner or not resolving a conflict. I don't ever want to be in the situation of compromising myself or my beliefs.  It's ok to agree to disagree.  It's ok to argue.  In fact, if I couldn't challenge my husband on a fairly regular basis, there's no way I would want to be married.

To the OP, when I look at your list, quite reasonably it's very much about your needs, and it's great that you're formulating them and naming what you need.  But if you want to have a successful marriage, take some time to also think about the list your partner would make.

I think there's a false ideal that marriage is a commitment you make when you take your vows.  The reality is that it should be a commitment you make every day.  It needs to be nourished. It is absolutely about give and take.

When I have the "irrits" about our relationship, or I feel like we're in a rut, I simply ask myself - better or worse?  Not just for better or worse, but is my life better or worse with my husband in it.

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