Happy Marriages – Pie in the Sky?

With the divorce rate higher than ever before, happy marriages seem ever more difficult. However, a little common sense – and work – can make all the difference.

Before all else, what sort of people should be getting together?

Alike or different?

Opposites attract (and can often have a successful marriage), but like-minded people may well make the best matches. Similar education, interests and even intelligence should prove advantageous.

I’m not suggesting couples try an IQ test before marrying, but if one partner is vastly ‘superior’, they are running risks. Both may find it difficult to understand, communicate with and relate to the other.

Rip van Winkle?

Night birds and early-to-bedders don’t make a great recipe for success. If one is always tired and likely to be grumpy while the other is sickeningly fresh, the chances of harmony are not high. Equally, socialites and stay-at-homes are unlikely to appreciate the other’s preferred lifestyle.


Are you a saver and your partner a spender (or vice versa)? This situation can cause enormous stress, for obvious reasons. You need at least to compromise, if you can’t actually agree. A big ‘ask’, as your financial blueprint is an integral part of your psychological make-up.


Mixed marriages can be – and often are – successful, but statistically they have greater chances of failure. Again, compromise is vital here, and that’s often far from easy in this area. It impinges not just on you two but, critically, also on children, so you must discuss this fully before marriage.


One of you may be very active politically, and the other indifferent (or you may both be  fervent supporters of opposing parties).  Then you had better clear up what each expects of the other before you enter into a committed relationship. Politics is another area where intolerance seems to rule!


Hopefully, before you enter into a long-term relationship, you determine what each partner might want in terms of sex and come to an agreement.


I am not a marriage counsellor, but I do believe that following these tips can really help your relationship. Sorting things out before they become a problem is paramount.

Happy marriages are the product of hard work as well as love and luck.


Michael Gordon is a celebrant based in London.