For Better or Worse – But Mainly for Better

Newlyweds, adopting these five qualities can help your marriage last for many, many years

You had a lovely wedding, complete with sunshine, roses, three-tiered cake and the chicken dance. Now you are newlyweds beginning your marital journey together. How can you develop and maintain a successful relationship? These five qualities are key:

  1. Commitment: It’s easy to think of commitment as overblown, but there’s no getting around its importance. Commitment in marriage means promising to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work, both day-by-day and over the long haul, regardless of what happens. That means not only putting your spouse at the top of your priority list, but also weathering storms together and working through the inevitable rough patches that all marriages experience.
  2. Shared responsibility and power: In a healthy marriage, both partners understand the importance of dividing responsibilities, and both view the other as being equal in power. The relationship is not autocratic in nature, meaning the partners are neither dominant nor submissive. Conflict is perceived as a way of resolving differences, often with compromise, and not a grim contest that must end with one winner and one loser. Also, the partners spend time and effort making decisions that serve them both. With an “us” mentality their top priority, everything becomes negotiable.
  3. Togetherness: Alikeness is found in happy marriages. Partners say they can read each other’s minds or finish each other’s sentences. Each partner learns how to view the world through the eyes of the other, using their mutual skills to the fullest. The relationship thrives in an environment where it is safe for each partner to be themselves, and where there is room for each to grow. Togetherness also includes intimacy, which is the ability to share thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes, dreams and aspirations.
  4. Self-sufficiency: Each partner in a solid marriage means has a healthy sense of self. That is, they know who they are aside from the relationship. They also feel autonomous, confident, self-reliant and able to stand on their own feet without relying on their spouse. While marriage partners may share many common interests, convictions and friendships, they are still able to be themselves. They also can acknowledge and accept their differences without being threatened or intimidated.
  5. Vision: Successful marriages create a relationship vision. The partners continually assess where they are as a couple, and where they want to go. If the relationship is in a rut, they haul it in for a check-up, asking each other what they like and dislike about the present. Then they invest in their alliance by making whatever modifications they mutually deem necessary.

Finally, remember, when it comes to the opposite sex, vive la difference! They’re not better or worse, just very different. Whatever you can do to understand men, women, and their differences will help you appreciate your partner.

The dream of an enduring and lasting marriage is within your reach. Make these five qualities part of your marriage, and you should remain happy partners for many years to come.


Joe Wegmann is a licensed clinical social worker and a clinical pharmacist with over 30 years of experience in counseling and medication treatment of depression and anxiety. Joe’s new book, Psychopharmacology: Straight Talk on Mental Health Medications is available at To learn more about Joe’s programs or to contribute a question for Joe to answer in a future article, visit his website at, or e-mail him at