The Secret to a Long, Happy Marriage

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to have a good marriage. Some even comes from kids.

Alan, age 10 tells us how to find the right match: “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”

Lori, age 8, made this observation when asked what her mom and dad had in common: “Both don’t want any more kids.”

And Kirsten, age 10, offered these thoughts on how two people wind up being married: “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”

Their responses give us a laugh. But if there’s a secret to having a long, happy marriage, wouldn’t you like to know what it is? According to a paper from The National Bureau of Economic Research there is a secret and you can know it. Just read on.

They analyzed data from two studies—one from the United Kingdom and one a Gallup World Poll—to search for any common threads they could find in happy marriages. And they found a big one: friendship.

Friendship is the biggest similarity worldwide among happily committed relationships. About half of married couples and cohabiting couples list their partner as their best friend.

Want to have a long, happy marriage? Then marry your best friend. Married people who see each other as best-friends seem to be more satisfied with life. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If life is treating you rough and you have to come home to someone you’re not friends with…well, you probably won’t want to go home.

Friends are important to our lives but if our spouse is our best friend the research says you become “super-friends.” In a Yahoo! Health article discussing these findings, relationship expert David Sbarra offered these tips on becoming a “super-friend” with your partner:

  • Have fun together. Get out of the rut. Try something new together. Make a list of things you’d like to do and then compare lists. Go to new places, eat at different restaurants, or try an activity you’ve never tried before.
  • Fight right. Disagreements are going to happen. But learn how to handle them in constructive ways. As one mentor taught me: “Conflict is only one step away from intimacy.” When conflict happens, deal with it instead of withdrawing and you will find yourself closer than before.
  • Cherish your partner. Learn to view your relationship as the most important thing in your life. It will be the one that is with you all the way through your life.

The Scriptures advise us to “leave, cleave and weave” a life together. Do it with friendship and your life will be full.

Question: Is the person you are married to your best friend? If so, great! If not, do one thing this week to have fun together.


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