Successful Marriage

May 30, 2017

Congratulations, if you’ve just got married! But remember that, once the excitement dies down – and the honeymoon becomes a memory – you need to focus on your marriage. How are you going to make it work?


One way is to watch what you say to each other. Sticks and stones, and all that – but words really can hurt. They can be misunderstood. They can damage relationships.

Here are a few powerful words that should be used with great caution:

  1. Never This is so final. It can give a message that your spouse is not good enough and will never be so. The situation will not improve. Use of this word does not imply listening, compromising or sympathy.
  2. Always The opposite of “never”, it has similar connotations. It suggests that your spouse is wrong (and therefore that you are right) – end of story. Again, it does not suggest two-way communication or empathy.
  3. I Obviously, everybody needs to use this word, but, almost by definition, you are taking a selfish standpoint, and care needs to be taken as a consequence.
  4. You Again, a word you are likely to need in order to produce a sentence. The focus is on the other person, but the effect depends on how you use it. Beware of making it accusatory or aggressive (finger-pointing).
  5. But (or however, or although) Remember that these negate whatever has preceded them. Positive becomes negative. It does not build trust, intimacy or credibility.
  6. Swearing This often means that you have lost control – possibly, because of frustration or the realisation that you are in the wrong. Name-calling will only cause upset, especially on a regular basis. Starting from lack of respect, the path to a relationship breakdown is relatively short.
  7. Divorce This should not be spoken as a threat or a weapon. Nor should you accuse your spouse of destroying the marriage. This won’t resolve any conflict – indeed, it is more likely to exacerbate it.


What is far more important and effective is to be prepared to communicate with your spouse. Invite openness. Listen to problems, and try to resolve them, possibly by use of compromise. Ask questions and try and understand. Often a problem is caused by simple misunderstanding, and can be solved easily.

Speaking (and behaving) with respect and patience is not always that easy, especially when under pressure, but ranting and raving will solve nothing. If necessary, explain calmly why you may feel irritated by a particular act or behaviour.

Counselling, or even divorce, should be last resorts. It may not always be easy, but the responsibility for making marriage work is down to both of you. So communicate before things get bad, and respect each other.