The Happiness Connection  

Truths for a happy marriage

Days growing longer and warmer can mean only one thing; it’s wedding season.

It is impossible to miss the increase in Facebook and Instagram posts about pre-nuptial parties, and marriage preparations.

I view bridal excitement slightly differently now than I used to. Like many women, my earliest ideas about marriage were steeped in fairy tale traditions.

I was happy the lucky couple had found each other and believed they were about to embark on a blissful life together.

I still feel happy at the prospect of a wedding, but my thoughts don’t stop there. I wonder whether the bride and groom are prepared for the life that awaits them. Do they realize that along with the moments of bliss there will be times of trouble? Have they talked about those potentially tricky subjects like money, children, and religion?

This rumination has prompted me to create a top 10 list of truths about marriage. These truths are based in my experience and the wisdom I’ve gained from the experts I have read and listened to.

You don’t have to agree with me, but I urge you to think about each one. You may find some new insight about your relationship.

This list is useful for all couples regardless of whether they are about to be married, are newly weds, or have been together since time began. Marriage like life is constantly growing and changing. There is always something new to learn.

You are responsible for your own happiness; don’t put this burden onto the shoulders of your spouse.

Regardless of what fairy tales lead you to believe, the only person who can make you happy is you.

Understanding this is not only advantageous for your relationship, it is also incredibly empowering. Each morning as you begin your new day, remind yourself that you are the one in charge. If you decide to be happy then you will be.

Your husband/wife isn’t irritating you, you are choosing to be irritated by your husband/wife.

Two do not become one.

If you are a regular reader of this column you will be familiar with this idea. Everyone is on their own unique journey through life. That doesn’t change just because you get married.

Living with another person adds a new dimension to your journey, but it doesn’t change the fact that you and your spouse are still on your own distinctive paths. Support each other, but don’t try to navigate the other person’s life for them, or think they have to do the same things you do.

There is conflict in every relationship; the struggles you experience together are not shameful or abnormal. Drink in the blissful relief of knowing you aren’t alone.

How often you fight and what those arguments look like depend a lot on your personality type, upbringing, and communication skills, but don’t kid yourself into believing that happily married couples always agree.

If your relationship is full of conflict that doesn’t necessarily mean you married the wrong person. It may indicate you need to look for a new perspective, alternative way of communicating, or growth mindset.

Express your feelings and thoughts and accept those of your partner without judgment.

Communication should not revolve around persuasion techniques. You don’t have to agree on everything to be happy together. According to marriage researcher John Gottman, about 69 per cent of all marital conflict will never be resolved, so stop arguing about these perpetual disagreements.

Respect each other enough to listen to the other’s viewpoint without trying to persuade them they are wrong. It is okay to have different beliefs. Your opinions aren’t right or wrong, they are just different.

Ditch the fixed mindset and be collaborative rather than competitive.

For anyone raised with a fixed mindset, you may be constantly trying to prove your worth This shows up in a marriage with each person trying to prove they are right and the other person is wrong. This competitive win-lose energy is damaging for relationships. Instead, develop a family culture of acceptance and support.

Leave your competitive instincts at the door and refer to truth  No. 4.

You are the thinker of your thoughts and the creator of your reality.

This is the philosophy of an empowered person. If your thoughts are making you unhappy, or you believe that your marriage is horrible, it is within your power to change it. You can either change your situation or alter the way you view it.

I often remind myself that I create my thoughts and my reality. If you don’t like the ones you’ve got, throw them out and find new ones.

Your perspective is never the only perspective; it might not even be the best perspective.

Whenever you and your partner have different points of view remind yourself of this truth. Stop to consider whether the other viewpoint offers insight you may have missed? Don’t let your pride or fixed mindset give you tunnel vision.

Perhaps the best way to look at something combines part of your perspective and part of your spouse’s. Maybe there is a third way to view the situation.

View your marriage as the best opportunity you will ever have for personal growth.

I used to say that marriage was hard work. I still agree with that sentiment, but I have put a slightly different spin on it. I believe the unique relationship that marriage provides is an exceptional chance to learn more about yourself.

When you get irritated by your partner, the annoyance has more to say about you than it does about your spouse. If you want to be a strong, empowered person, marriage is the place for you.

Don’t be an enabler.

I used to complain that my husband left everything for me to do whenever we went on holidays. After 20 plus years of this behaviour, I had an epiphany. If my husband had a task to do, I had to stop being his safety net and doing for him.

It only took him one experience of him scrambling between flights to arrange an ESTA, before he started to make sure his travel documents were in order before we left home.

Don’t act or speak in anger, hurt, or any other negative emotion.

Always take time to cool down before you discuss or try to resolve a situation. Negative feelings are part of your fight/flight response. They arise when you believe you are in a win-lose situation.

This is not a useful frame of mind when you are looking for resolution and compromise. Positive emotions encourage you to make and strengthen your relationships. This is the place you will find solutions to challenges.

I believe these 10 truths will help any couple see their relationship in a clearer more empowering light. You don’t have to memorize them; just be aware they exist.

When the time comes for you to draw on their wisdom, they will be there.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at, or

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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