12 Characteristics Of A Successful Marriage

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Just because you consider yourself happily married, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one of the traits that your marriage is a successful one. We’ve all heard about how marriages can end up bringing out the worst in people, and how the sofa is usually an extra bed in the house. But when you want yours to go from the brink of toxicity to a blossoming romance, it’s important to know about the characteristics of successful marriages.

A happy marriage exudes a glow of togetherness, laughter, and intimacy that is apparent the moment you meet a happy couple. There are some elements of a successful marriage that are apparent to the eye and some we don’t get to see but definitely exist. “Till death do us part” almost rolls off the tongue during the vows as if it’s just a formality you’ll definitely be adhering to.

In reality, upholding this vow may end up being the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Some people say that a perfect marriage doesn’t exist. A perfect or successful marriage depends on the couple and their will to make it a successful one. If you were wondering about the 12 characteristics of successful marriage that make a relationship tick, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at what makes some marriages so inherently fulfilling for each partner.

12 Characteristics Of A Successful Marriage

Being able to maintain a successful marriage even after the rollercoaster ride that it takes you on, is commendable. If you look to science for the characteristics of a successful marriage, a UCLA study claims that couples who agree to share chores at home are more likely to be happier in their relationships. Is doing the dishes while your spouse takes the trash out really all it takes? It’ll definitely help, but to make a bond strong, you require a lot more than the occasional chore delegation.

Dr. Gary Chapman says, “In reality, relationships that are successful tend to take the attitude, ‘How can I help you?’ ‘How can I enrich your life?’ ‘How can I be a better husband/wife to you?’.” Being selfless, being empathetic, and always considering your partner’s needs are all cornerstones of any relationship. But when you’re both fighting about the wet towel on the bed, all the niceties go right out the window.  

When you ask your friends or the people around you about the characteristics of a good marriage, they might shrug it off, saying, “Just be nice to each other. My partner and I never fight.” Resist the urge to hurl a few harsh words at them, and continue reading this article to understand the qualities of a good marriage.

Do you just have to be nice to your partner, and all the complications will fade? But what about when you’re hesitant to talk about the lack of sex in your relationship, fearing it’ll lead to a discovery of infidelity? Or when you’re worried you can’t connect with your partner anymore, so you don’t even try? The characteristics of a strong marriage will not only tell you what yours has or might be lacking, but they’ll also give you an idea of what you need to obtain.

The real key is that even after all those nasty fights and the dark days, you must be willing to fight for your marriage. That’s what a successful marriage is all about. To help you have an absolute idea of it, here are 12 characteristics of a successful marriage. Focus on having them in your marriage, and life will be blissful.

Related Reading: 15 Tips For A Successful Marriage

1. They sit and resolve issues together

There is no marriage that doesn’t have fights, drama, and separation. The common issues couples fight about can end up leading to a period of no-contact, which then results in one of the biggest faux pas a married couple can make: no communication.

It’s important to understand that all married couples have arguments and misunderstandings. One of the characteristics of a successful marriage is keeping an open communication flow between the two. Couples that sit down together and resolve their issues instead of letting things get more complicated are more likely to be happier in their marriage.

Instead of going to bed angry at each other, getting busy the next morning, and trying to act as though you didn’t just have the worst fight the previous night, solve your issues when they arise. It’ll help in the long run, and you’ll notice you develop a healthier approach toward conflict resolution.

2. They support each other

Married couples can have different professional goals. They may not have the same professional background nor may one partner have much knowledge about the type of work that his/her spouse does. In such situations, what matters is how much both support each other’s goals and lift each other up.

Couples in a successful marriage motivate each other and work together toward achieving their goals. They become the wind beneath each other’s wings. Being happy with your spouse’s success is one of the most important characteristics of the 12 characteristics of a happy marriage.

3. They know what they want in the future

Couples in a successful marriage have a clear view of where they see themselves in the future. Be it a future with a couple of dogs running amok in the large patch of land you own or becoming a business tycoon power couple, you’ll have a general idea of what you want to achieve together.

This is also an outcome of clear communication. Taking decisions about the future together is a sign of a healthy marriage. They plan their future together which includes investments, future purchases, retirement, and other financial aspects that must be discussed. If 10 years down the line, you realize your partner eventually wants to blow all their savings on a cryptocurrency that was created 4 days ago, needless to say, it might lead to a huge fight.

The qualities of a good marriage partner include conversations about the future – from making travel plans together to talking about finances and where you want to eventually live after the kids have grown up or when you’re finally millionaires.

4. There’s a strong foundation of trust

elements of successful marriage
A successful marriage thrives on a foundation of trust

Trust is the foundation of every relationship. Marriages that are built on the pillars of trust are very difficult to shake. When both spouses trust each other, there’s automatically a sense of understanding between the two. This leads to lesser misunderstandings and fights over trust issues. 

When you both trust each other, you tend to share more things with one another and this brings you both even closer. Trust is a major pillar in the 12 characteristics of a successful marriage.

5. They are best friends first

Being best friends is one of the characteristics of a good marriage. Only when you both are best friends and confide in each other, will you be able to be yourselves completely. In a marriage, spouses who are best friends rely on each other and share almost everything.

They share their deepest, darkest fears with one another, and also their happiest moments. When you are so close with your spouse, you can undoubtedly talk to them about anything without inciting a fight. Having healthy discussions and listening to each other’s points of view is one of the characteristics of a successful marriage. Aren’t they the happiest married couples?

They can tell each other anything without thinking twice about what the other person will think. There is no fear, doubt, or insecurity in the relationship. It flows like a river.

Related Reading: 8 Habits Of Couples In Strong And Healthy Relationships

6. They compromise for one another

A major characteristic of marriage is the ability to compromise. In a successful marriage, both spouses make each other their priority and compromise for each other. It is about making each other happy and respecting their needs. Only when this compromise doesn’t feel like a burden is it successful.

Adjustment after marriage is the most normal thing and in the first year of marriage itself, you realize the things you’ll need to do. Both partners lose some and gain some in a successful marriage. They don’t crib and complain about the small sacrifices; instead, they appreciate and respect each other for them.

7. They respect each other

respect in a successful marriage
For a marriage to be successful respect is a must

Mutual respect is the cornerstone of any good relationship. Be it a bond between parents and children, between siblings, or even with colleagues. When the person you’re talking to doesn’t respect you, the conversation stops being a dialogue and becomes a monologue instead. Simply because they are uninterested in your contributions.

When a marriage features a lack of respect, things will go from bad to worse very quickly. Think about it, when a partner constantly starts to feel hurt because their feelings and opinions aren’t validated, how healthy could the dynamic even be? Perhaps the most important characteristic of a healthy marriage is respect.

Spouses who respect each other‘s opinions and decisions are more likely to be happy in their marriage. Equality is one of the keys to respecting your spouse. When you treat your spouse equally and make them an equal part of your decisions, you both respect each other more. Respecting your spouse is one of the essential traits of a happy couple.

8. They forgive each other

Spouses are bound to make mistakes in marriage. Some mistakes can be small, like not spending enough time together, prioritizing work over the relationship, etc., while others can be big, such as cheating on your spouse. As human beings, we’re bound to mess up every now and then.

Sometimes, one of the spouses makes a huge mistake and it’s on the other one to decide what to do about it. At that point in time, they have a choice: to forgive or to end the marriage. For example, infidelity usually rocks the foundation of even the healthiest of marriages. While initially, people may think it’s impossible to work past it, couples who opt for forgiveness can end up being happier in the marriage.

Not only does forgiveness count with adulterous acts but with the small fights and everyday arguments as well. If an argument about where the car keys are usually kept has led you both to fight about the way your in-laws taunt you, choosing to forgive your partner for any harsh words said in the heat of the moment will usually do more good than harm.

One of the most important characteristics of a good marriage is to not let things get to you to the point where hurling abuse seems to be the only appropriate response. Needless to say, the characteristics of a strong marriage feature forgiveness, instead of keeping score.

9. They always keep the spark going

Whether they’re in their 30s or their 60s, the qualities of a good marriage tell us that they still have the spark going. Such couples always know how to spice their relationship up and keep the spark going. For couples, the most crucial elements of a successful marriage are the elements that keep the marriage going, one of them being love.

Couples in a successful marriage never fall out of love. If they do, they always find a way back to each other. Ups and downs in a marriage are inevitable, but the basic characteristic of a successful marriage is the way a couple deals with these ups and downs, and in the process, how they make their marriage stronger.

10. They grow together

No relationship or marriage is perfect. The more you invest in a marriage, the more you grow together. Relationships take time to evolve and get stronger over time. Holding grudges of the past will only hold your marriage back and poison it more. For instance, say, one of the partners was unfaithful in the past.

If you’ve both decided to work past it, learning how to move on and grow together is a vital characteristic of a healthy marriage. Without the willingness to grow, the past will consume the future and you may end up constantly stuck at square one. Only when both spouses are willing to learn from their mistakes and grow as a couple can they move past them and focus on building a future together.

11. Persistence and commitment

In marriages, there are many lows that come your way. There may be times when you will feel like giving up on the marriage and lose faith in each other. At that moment, those couples who are persistent and keep working hard to save their marriage are the ones that are able to overcome the obstacles in the marriage.

Giving up in a marriage is the easy way out. If you really want a long, successful marriage, persistence is a characteristic of marriage that both spouses need to have. Both spouses need to be committed to the marriage. “People need to know their marriages are worth fighting for,” says Dr. Gary Chapman.

Related Reading: Love After Marriage – 9 Ways It Is Different From Love Before Marriage

12. They appreciate each other

With this point, our list of 12 characteristics of a successful marriage comes to an end. You could even argue that this is the most important one. Spouses in a successful marriage always acknowledge each other’s efforts.

They appreciate each other and try their best to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Appreciating each other helps in boosting each other’s morale and spouses feel loved and happy that their efforts are being acknowledged by you.

Hopefully, you now have clarity about what are the characteristics of a good marriage and have been able to draw parallels to your own life as well. If the above characteristics of a successful marriage made you smile thinking about your marriage, it shows that you have had a pretty successful marriage so far. It is important to be consistent, committed, and keep an open flow of communication between the two of you.

Instead of holding grudges, find a solution to the problem and sort things out. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Always remember that you both are human beings and are bound to make mistakes. How you deal with it and work towards making your marriage successful is what counts.

We have a robust team of experts to hand-hold you through your dating days and early marital years. And if your marriage lacks any of the characteristics of a good marriage that we listed out, Bonobology has a multitude of experienced marriage counselors who will help you make your marriage the best it can be.


1. What makes a strong marriage?

A marriage is strong when spouses have a level of understanding where even if they don’t speak they can communicate. They achieve a different level of communication and are willing to support each other, be it in house chores or career aspirations.

2. What are the three key elements in every successful relationship?

The three key elements are trust, mutual respect, and communication that make a relationship very successful and strong in the long run.

3. What are the elements of a strong relationship?

The elements of a strong relationship are when the couple holds each other’s hand through the toughest times and they don’t look at compromises as sacrifices. They do everything with love.

4. What is the basis of a relationship?

Any relationship should be built on a strong foundation of trust, respect, commitment, understanding, support, and in the end, comes love. Dollops of it. These are a few of the characteristics of the 12 characteristics of a successful marriage.

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