There are at least two characteristics that all healthy marriages have in common. First, they are mutually enriching, and second, both spouses have a deep respect for each other.
It is a mutually satisfying relationship that is beneficial to the husband, wife and children (if present).
It is a relationship that is committed to ongoing growth, the use of effective communication skills and the use of successful conflict management skills.
I couldn't believe it when I read this... It seems that if you've had one failed divorce, your next marriage is MUCH more likely to end in divorce! I am curious how much this is true. I think I'm going to do a fb poll about it... I can see how families with children are less likely, since a lot of parents stay together FOR the children.
A healthy marriage makes all the difference. The difference in how you raise your children, how they grow up, what type of parents they become, what kind of spouse they become... YOU are the difference.
One thing that you can do, to lessen the likely-hood of getting to the point in your relationship is to listen. A big problem in marriages, especially longer ones, is that we become complacent. We *think* we know so much about our spouse, that we tend to finish their sentences, and we start thinking the same. The problem with this, is that we stop listening, and start 'finishing'.
I was happy to see that in one article I read, that said that neither communication NOR resolving conflict was the most important thing, but rather, respect. That is SO important in my mind... if you don't respect your spouse, you're not going to communicate well, and surely won't be able to communicate well enough to resolve conflict!
Huffpost recently did an article, asking people for the one most important thing.
One of the comments, that REALLY struck me was this:
Equal effort, equal devotion, equal love, equal honesty, equal compassion, equal work, equal passion, equal commitment, etc.
If you and your partner are not equally committed to having a lasting GOOD marriage, then there will eventually be a breakdown of some sort followed by suffering, compromise, discontent, and other undesirable feelings. But it's not just commitment that you need. You need all of those other things, and none is more important than any other... They are all equally important. You can love someone to the moon and back, but that isn't any kind of guarantee that things will work out amicably.
The U.S. Dept of Human Services cares enough about your marriage to have a Healthy Marriage Initiative, who's goal is to help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.