What Makes a Healthy Marriage?

Most of us would aspire to a healthy marriage. I recently wrote about how to survive marriage. Let’s be more positive now, and examine this further.

The key elements?

Isn’t it simple enough to have a healthy marriage? Surely, you just need to be in love, find a ‘soul-mate’ and be prepared to communicate with each other?

Actually, a combination of all three is really not that easy to achieve.

But even if you manage to, more is required.

The starting-point

Even if blessed with these elements, it is best if you both have high self-esteem and are open to forming a team. In other words, you are can stand on your own feet, but make a considered choice to share your life.

Each partner should be willing to be influenced by their partner – in that way, positive change can take place. However, entering marriage in the hope that your spouse will heal you is not a good basis.

Even worse, is the expectation that your spouse will meet all your needs. Nobody can do that, either materially or spiritually. Moreover, men still occasionally have to bond with men, and women with women.

A few things to beware of

  • Possessiveness & jealousy
  • Refusal to compromise
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Negativity
  • Addictive behaviour
  • Attention-seeking
  • Lack of respect

These are all things that can bring down a marriage.


Emotionally healthy men and women, with healthy expectations, are most likely to enjoy healthy marriages. They should be able to build solid foundations for their relationship, and be open to making adjustments as they go.

Love is vital, but it’s also about becoming (and remaining) a team, with both working to move in (more or less!) the same direction.

It’s simple enough – but not necessarily easy!

Michael Gordon is a celebrant based in London