Marital_Advice_ArticleThis marital advice article looks at four different groups of married or previously married couples to find what characteristics contribute to marital success and inversely to marital discord, in order to help you have a better marriage. The greater purpose of this article is to contribute findings that are beneficial to marriages to result in more marital success for all.

According to research that has already been conducted in this area, there are six major factors that if utilized correctly will positively influence marriages. The research that follows will look at these six factors: communication, intimacy, finances, friendship, trust, and beliefs.

Regarding the six factors, we will first consider finances within marital relationships. It is generally known that financial problems are the number one reason for divorce. Because of this floating “fact,” we will take this notion into consideration. With this in mind, one research study showed that agreement over financial expenditures largely contributed to overall marital satisfaction. (Berry & Williams, 1987)

In continuation, an interesting study was done using 16 participants, each in a second marriage as a result of divorce. They were interviewed individually and with their partner. Participants were asked to describe how their first marriages was currently affecting their second. Trust seemed to be the central factor being derived from these interviews. This being that the amount of trust between an individual and their former spouse, and between an individual and their second spouse, played a major role in current marital happiness. (Brimhall, Wampler, & Kimball, 2008)

Another study was done on marital homogamy (friendship). It was expected that women would find a mate more like themselves, than compared to their first marriage. However, what was found, was that women tend to fall into the same patterns or old habits. It was further found that marital homogamy was something women seemed to seek-possibly because it was a concern or problem in their previous marriages. (Please note that this marital homogamy will be represented as friendship for now on.) (Dean & Gurak, 1978)

In yet another study, it was found that marital reconciliation is most likely to occur when there is a stronger devotion to religion between the couples. (Wineberg, 1994)

Furthermore, we often hear that communication plays a major role in marital satisfaction. One particular study found that during a religious disagreement among married couples, constructive communication was the strongest predictor of marital satisfaction (Hughes & Dickson, 2009).

Finally, another study comparing fifteen couples who had been married at least 30 years, revealed that these couples’ perceptions of the qualities which had sustained their relationship were intimacy (Also see: Relational Intimacy ), commitment, communication, congruence, and religious faith. According to them these were five key factors in marital success. This study is important because it focuses to some degree on almost all of the factors mentioned previously except for finances. (Robinson & Blanton, 1993)

With the above characteristics in mind, this article begins to reveal those factors that can contribute to marital success. These findings could certainly be generalized to other marriages.

There is much to be considered from the results of these studies regarding marital success. Of all the marital advice out there, focusing on these characteristics are of utmost importance.  Obviously communication and commitment may play a large part in marital success and marital satisfaction, but other parts seem to play an important role as well, although maybe not quite as significant. Also, these studies show there is great importance in finding a mate that rates high, along with oneself, in the six categories: trust, communication, intimacy, finances, friendship, and beliefs.

The marital advice given in this article should help couples stay married and show them the things they need to work on to produce marital success. We need to begin to make these the major focuses of marriage preparation, help, satisfaction, and success.

The implications of this marital advice is potentially huge. Think of declining divorce rates and what that could mean: financially stable homes, children being raised in intact family units, abortion rates declining, and the economy rising. Much research has been done on the importance of a good family structure and the positive effects it can have on a society. However, such a structure has been shown to be most effective with an intact married couple. Therefore, the factors that were presented in this article might be the key to a better future for all of us.

Are you a successful contributor to your relationship?  If you need help in this area, contact me here.

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References

Berry, R., & Williams, F. (1987, February). Assessing the Relationship Between Quality of Life and Marital and Income Satisfaction: A Path Analytic Approach. Journal of Marriage & Family, 49(1), 107. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Brimhall, A., Wampler, K., & Kimball, T. (2008, September). Learning from the past, altering the future: A tentative theory of the effect of past relationships on couples who remarry. Family Process, 47(3), 373-387. Retrieved June 12, 2009, doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2008.00259.x

Dean, G., & Gurak, D. (1978, August). Marital Homogamy the Second Time Around. Journal of Marriage & Family, 40(3), 559. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Hughes, P., & Dickson, F. (2005, January). Communication, Marital Satisfaction, and Religious
Orientation in Interfaith Marriages. Journal of Family Communication, 5(1), 25-41. Retrieved June 12, 2009, doi:10.1207/s15327698jfc0501_2

Robinson, L., & Blanton, P. (1993, January). MARITAL STRENGTHS IN ENDURING MARRIAGES. Family Relations, 42(1), 38-45. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Wineberg, H. (1994, February). Marital Reconciliation in the United States: Which Couples are Successful?. Journal of Marriage & Family, 56(1), 80-88. Retrieved June 13, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.