Beating Fifty Percent- The Surprising Secrets of a Happy Marriage (Part 2) |
christian speaker, writer, christian blog, south dakota blog, speaker, sojourner, Cindy Krall
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Last week I shared some of Shaunti Feldhahn’s findings from her 10-year study of “highly happy marriages.” I don’t know about you but I thought some of the results were definitely surprising.

I have four more discoveries to share and then I want to tell you about a resource Doc and I stumbled upon last fall. It’s an inexpensive, doable activity that has been a terrific marriage booster for us!

Marriage Surprise #5

No different than other married couples, highly happy couples experience conflict. But when they do they “will at some point mutually reconnect by sharing a private signal that says ‘We’re okay.’” I loved the story one couple shared;

“We’re like bumper cars around the house. I know—it’s juvenile! But if he comes up and bumps against me at the kitchen sink and then a minute later I bump into him in the doorway to the study, I’ve just said I accept his apology.”

Doc and I don’t play bumper cars but we have our own “code” for when we’re re-establishing we’re okay after a disagreement. Feldhahn notes the resolution has less to do with the “substance of the conflict” and more to do with an overt way couples acknowledge they still love each other and want to remain “connected.”

Research says…use sign language.

Marriage Surprise #6

Highly happy couples spend time together. This “secret” probably doesn’t require an explanation but Feldhahn did share some insightful tips. She provided examples of how couples who are physically a long distance apart cope. She also addressed scenarios in which one spouse or the other works shifts that make time together difficult.

You’ll want to read the chapter for details but the primary point was that time together for highly happy couples didn’t need to be every day and it didn’t need to be a candlelight dinner but it was intentional and consistent!

Research says…hang out.

Marriage Surprise #7

In this chapter, Shaunti touches on the importance of kindness in a marriage. Truth is critical to a healthy marriage——but it must be truth in love.

She states, “Highly happy couples…joke and they challenge, but they try to never do it in ways their mate would perceive as disrespectful or hurtful.” She continues, “The line (these couples) advised others never to cross: if you wouldn’t say it that way to a close friend, don’t say it that way to your spouse.”

I think if most of us were to do a gut-check we wouldn’t be surprised by this finding and yet isn’t it easy to be brutally (and sometimes cruelly) honest with our spouses? Yikes, not a good idea according to the survey.

Research says…don’t tell it like it is.

Marriage Surprise #8

Someone once told me that the nuclear bomb of all words to drop in a marriage is the “D” word. Divorce for highly happily married couples is never an option. As one couple said, “When marriage is forever, the only option is ‘Let’s work through it.”

Commitment in the relationship allows both parties to become completely emotionally invested.

Research says…risk it all.

Shaunti’s book The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages offers truth and knowledge. Two of the greatest tools we can put in our marriage toolbox. But all the tools in the world won’t do us much good if we don’t take the time to use them.

Enter the resource I mentioned earlier. There’s a wonderful little book called Navigators Council- A Marriage Journal to Share Your Heart and Understand Theirs.  Every week it provides couples with the opportunity to connect. Depending on how crazy the schedule is you and your spouse can go through it in fifteen minutes or park on the questions and spend forty-five. (It’s gone both ways for us!)

I’m grateful for the folks that write books like these. Their words and wisdom help me find (and keep) the kind of home God desires for me, my marriage and our children. I hope they help you too!

Savoring the journey with you,


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