By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Are there ways to ensure that your marriage will be a successful marriage? The answer is of course, no. Life, love, and marriage do not come with absolute guarantees. However, there are ways to greatly increase your odds of having a successful marriage.

If you match the 14 predictors of a successful marriage, you can greatly increase the odds that your marriage will last for a lifetime. These are the14 predictors for a happy marriage that we discovered as a result of our 30 years of research with happily married couples in 48 countries on all seven continents.

While any one of these predictors are not essential for a successful marriage, the more your relationship matching these 14 predictors, the greater your chances of having a successful marriage:

1. It stands to reason that you and the one you love must first pass the Marriage Quiz. If you can’t get out of the starting gate with a successful marriage, the rest doesn’t matter. Take the Quiz and if you both receive a score of 18 or higher on the Marriage Quiz, you have met the first pre-requisite of a successful marriage.

2. Don't get married until you are at least 25 years of age. Couples who get married after the age of 25 are far more likely to stay married than those who get married sooner. Experience and wisdom come with age.

3. Before you get married have a stable income-producing job. Here’s what we know, couples with annual incomes over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) experience a drastically reduced risk of divorce.

4. Wait to have children until after the first year of your marriage. Nora Ephron once said, “Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage!” Children are wonderful, but they bring stress and challenges to a marital relationship, especially to a new marriage. Bring children into the world when the two of you have established your relationship with each other and your marriage is ready for children.

5. Have a spiritual and/or religious foundation. Couples that consider themselves religious or spiritual (vs. not) are considerably less likely to get divorced. Faith and spirituality contribute to the sense of oneness felt by successfully married couples – a necessary prerequisite to a long and happy marriage.

6. Get an education that includes post-secondary training. College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma. Education almost always leads to enlightenment and understanding and more tolerance for the views of others – so critically important in successful marriages.

7. Make sure your spouse is your best friend. When someone asks you who your best friend is, the honest answer must be, “My spouse.” There is no other acceptable answer to this question. As love and marriage experts, we know that being in love is never enough without friendship.

8. Always engage in a fair fight in your relationship. All married couples argue—the difference is how they argue. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair and never make your arguments personal and hurtful!

9. Never lose your individual identity or subjugate your individual strengths just because you got married. While in many ways “two becomes one” in the best marriages, losing the sense of “who you are” hurts your marriage.

10. Never engage in acts of infidelity or disloyalty. While some marriages survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity – before you violate the most sacred of marital trusts.

11. Always allow time to be alone—for both you and your spouse. We have learned over the past three decades of research that every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone. Allow yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage.

12. Talk about anything and everything! Marriages thrive on open communication and honest discussion. As love and marriage experts, the most successfully married couples we have interviewed tell us that they have learned to communicate frequently, fairly, openly, and honestly. Mum is not the word in marriages that work!

13. Always show mutual respect and admiration for each other. The best marriages repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other with no expectation of something in return. They work hard to understand each other’s needs and wants. But remember—these behaviors take daily practice!

14. The greatest joy in life for both you and your spouse is spending time with each other. If you do not feel this way, you do NOT fit the profile of the most happily and successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world. There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple.

These predictors associated with the best marriages do not occur by accident or happenstance. Heed the advice and the odds are in your favor for a lifetime of marital happiness. Ignore the predictors and do so at your own peril. The choice is yours.

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts .

Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.
you witness the signs, take action. Save your relationship if you can. Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life. It is not too late to save your marriage.

In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!

By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With over 30 years of research on love and successful marriage across seven continents of the world in 48 countries and their own 46-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

Get started with America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts by taking their Marriage Quiz or sending your questions to Ask the Doctors for Marriage Advice.

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