Three things you need to know to have a happy marriage

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tips for a happy marriage

I was recently asked to give advice to someone just getting married.

I thought long and hard about what advice I would give and if I was even qualified to give such advice, as I’m only been married for 15 years. I was also concerned if I had anything to share that works for us, and would work for others. After really thinking about it I realized that for us, a happy marriage really came down to three things we do and I knew I wanted to talk more about them and hear about tips others have learned.

The most important tip I wanted to share was that marriage is not hard like it’s made out to be.

I would imagine that if you think marriage is hard then much of your life, as a whole would be hard, and that your marriage is just a small part of your “hard” life. 

On the other hand, with priorities on communication, compassion, love and these three tips, marriage is one of the best things in life and makes life far from hard… it makes life so much more beautiful.

Here are the three tips you need to have a happy marriage. 

1. Pick your battles- If I had to pick one tip it would be this one. Figure out very quickly how important something is to you and if it’s not that important let it go. If my husband knows that something is very important to me, like our daughters school, he will trust my decision. If I know that something is important to him I do the same. It is very rare that the same thing is overly important to each of us and when that happens we talk it out and we soon discover that it’s more important to one or the other of us anyways.

2. Always remember you are in it together- There are going to be very good times in your lives and bad times. Never forget that you are not alone and remember to support the other person. You are a team not two competing members of a team. There is no competition. If one of you wins you both win. If one of you loses you are both losers. 

3. Know your strengths and weakness and then divide to conquer. Yep, you are a team but you each have strengths and weaknesses. My husband is a much better negotiator than I am so he is in charge of any situation that involves negotiations. I’m an awesome paper pusher (sad but true) so I take care of paperwork. We rely on each others strengths and we cover each others weaknesses each and every day.

What tip would you add to this list?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely LifeĀ®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • hi heather, I’m 54, my wife and I have been married for 35 year but we have been together for 41 year, yes that’s right, we were 13 when we met, I came to the conclusion year’s ago that” love” itself, is a measure of equal commitment, and that measurement never stops, as long as the commitment is there, your three tips all fit in with this, thank you.
    Kind Regards.

  • Those are great tips. I think as long as you tackle things as a team, you are in good shape.

  • The picking your battles thing is HUGE. Hubs and I have a different way of doing a lot of things and some of them I will fight him over but other times, it’s just not worth the bother. Knowing which is important.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more! Marriage is not always easy but certainly doable. I’ve been marrried for 20 years this coming September, and it hasn’t always been super easy, but for the most part we’ve had a terrific marraige and it’s because we talk a lot about everything and try to respect each other at all costs. Great post!

  • It’s so important to remember that you are in it together! I feel like a lot of couples forget that.

  • These are great tips but I can tell you, after being married for almost 34 years, sometimes marriage is hard. It takes work and commitment — and is so worth both.

  • I sometimes wonder if I just lucked out. I have been with my husband 18 years, and we never fight. Like ever. We get irritated with each other from time to time, sure, but a quick eye roll from both sides seems to settle it lol.

  • Pick you battles! Absolutely. Marriage CAN be hard, but not ALWAYS. It’s always a work in progress and should mostly be happy and good time!

  • All 3 of these tips for making marriage a success are wonderful! “Pick Your Battles” is certainly a good hint, although hard to follow at times.

  • I have to agree with all of these. I have been married for almost 38 years and my husband and I do balance each other out. We both know what we are good at and we allow the other to handle what they are good at and it seems to work. Don’t micro-manage each other.

  • This is hard for many of us mommy types, but the marriage comes first! Before work, before kids, before other family. My marriage is the center of my family; without it, my kids don’t have the same stability. We don’t yell or speak unkindly to or of one another, we kiss and hold hands, we continue our conversation when kids try to interrupt (teens, until the baby comes in a few weeks). While we do not ascribe to any religion, I like what I once heard Dr. James Dobson say about family: “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Taking this one step further, the best way to ensure you give your family, with or without kids, the very best chance is to love each other. Not with “feelings”, but with action! Our kids, our family, and the outside world know that they can always find a united front with us, and we know that our partner will behave as such. No “teasing insults” to make people laugh; he’s never told any of the stories of my hilarious mishaps at gatherings to get a laugh. No complaining about his work schedule to my mom; he puts me first, so if he’s out it’s with good reason. When I get down on myself, or the kids complain about dinner, he’s famous for saying “I don’t talk about you (your mom) that way, what makes you think it’s ok for you to talk about you (your mom) that way?” I do the same for him, and it is authentic because we actually don’t speak poorly of or to each other.
    Bigger than that? We knew what to expect. We discussed everything before the “I do”. Finances, step-parenting, division of labor, bad habits, ugly pasts, the exes, toilet paper, important philosophical beliefs, expectations and limits for our sex life, computer and social media usage… everything. Things change, but because we had such open communication to begin with, it is far easier for us to deal with what comes.
    Just my couple of pennies, but I have the most amazing life because my marriage is what it is!

  • I love my husband. We get along. But I think marriage can be hard… maybe it’s because my hubby and I are SO different. Or maybe I should just change my mindset. šŸ˜‰ Your tips are good.

  • Marriage in the movies does not equal marriage in real life. Those are for entertainment purposes only. Reading is my main hobby. As a writer I find it helps keep my creativity going. I also love being transported to other places and time. I think movies and other factors in our world today give plenty of people a false misrepresentation of life.

  • I definitely agree with knowing you and your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses. We were just talking about it at church the other day!

  • Those are all very good tips. I think couples need to realize that both parties need to contribute on a regular basis. Without teamwork, things just fall apart and resentment sets in.

  • You have given some really great relationship advice. For me picking your battles is a big one. It’s really hard when you constantly feel like you are in a battle zone. It really doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • Sweet tips! Picking your battles is so important. and its so important to simply let it go sometimes.

  • Thank you for saying this! I love that you said marriage is not “hard”. I’ve been married for 19 years and I would torture myself for that long if it wasn’t awesome!

  • Good tips – divide and conquer is really important. Some task my hubby is great at and some I am – after over 38 years we are still learning!

  • Pick your battles is something I am struggling with right now- thanks for the advice!

  • I think that this was a brilliantly written post, as most people don’t realize even these 3 simple things to know to have a happy marriage. Thank you for the refresher. I’ve pinned this posts in hopes that more of my friends will read it. šŸ™‚

  • I would add to not assume what the other is thinking or believing. Ask. I’ve been surprised when I think my husband is thinking one thing and is thinking something different. I end up being wrong and it only strengthen our relationship.

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