The following seven secrets have worked very well for over 22 years in my marriage and for many other couples too. Follow them, adapt them to work in your own marriage, and you'll be on your way to having what we all want -- a happy marriage!

1. Communicate

2. Meet each other’s needs

3. Learn to resolve conflicts

4. Grow with each other

5. Agree on money matters

6. Love and respect

7. Maintain a commitment to the marriage

Grow with each other
It should come as no surprise to learn the person you married won't be the same person you will still be married to five, 10, 20 years from now. You will both change over time particularly at key points in your lives such as starting a family, changing or restarting a career and facing some of life’s most challenging moments, such as the death of loved ones. There is no question that life is not static, it is very dynamic and ever-changing. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume we will change and our marriages will change, too.

Successful couples know that one or both partners will experience a shift in personality at these times. It can feel as if the rules in the relationship have changed; what it means is that you need to change in order to keep up with the changing relationship.

During these times, it is important to anticipate shifts and ride with them. Rather than demanding your partner stays the same forever, you should welcome and understand the natural developments of personality that happen with time.

When things are not growing, they are dying. This is a natural law of the universe. If we ignore the opportunities for growth in ourselves and in our relationships, then we will suffer the consequences. Perhaps the best gift you will ever give your spouse is the space and freedom to grow and change. Just as it is difficult not to focus on your needs, but on your spouse’s needs (see Meet each other’s needs), you must also have the faith and confidence that if you give your spouse the room to grow, he or she will not grow away from you.

It’s all about risk versus reward. Meaning, you may fear the risk of giving your partner the opportunity for growth will result in the end of the marriage, but the reward is a happier and more personally fulfilled partner. In my marriage, I’m at my best when I’m giving Mary Beth what she needs to be at her best. This is what is best for our marriage.

Grow and develop with your partner when life provides the opportunity and sometimes demands. Chances are very good the love and commitment in your marriage will continue to develop and grow too.

Next: Secret five of a happy marriage: Agree on money matters

Author's Bio: 

Alex Blackwell is the author of The Next 45 Years - a website dedicated to sharing and creating happiness, life balance and success for the rest of our lives. To read more inspirational stories and articles, please visit: