My first thought in writing “5 Keys to a Happy Marriage” was that I didn’t want to duplicate my previous articles. I deliberately chose a simplistic thesis and five practical points that apply to marriage. Here’s the backstory to “5 Keys to a Happy Marriage.”
The article is based on my marriage of 49 years and a combination of marriage counselings that I conducted over decades.
Point number one highlights the differences between infatuation and true love. Dr. Pat Love (The Truth About Love, 2001) wrote a groundbreaking book about the stepwise progression from infatuation, to post-rapture, to true love. Many married couples don’t know these naturally occurring steps in a marriage, otherwise you wouldn’t hear this lament: “I think I just fell out of love.”
Next I added three endearing responses that I’ve used over the years in our marriage: “Please,” “I’m sorry,” and “Thank you.” These might seem inconsequential, but they can make a big difference in your marriage. Universally men assume they’re weak to verbalize these thoughts. The opposite is true: Real men lead with humility. Jesus did (Philippians 2:2-8 Philippians 2:2-8  Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
American King James Version×).
Good marital communication says, “I care.” I learned this in my graduate communication studies. If you were in our home, you would hear me say, “I hear you,” “I’m listening,” or “I understand,” not because I’m bored, but because I want to confirm that I’m listening.
Patience sustains life (Luke 21:19 Luke 21:19In your patience possess you your souls.
American King James Version×). Understanding patience turns the corner from the excitement of infatuation to the deliberate application of true love (Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×). The love cocktail brings a man and woman together, but honeymoons don’t last forever. The honeymoon automatically transitions into the reality of everyday living, where we accept shortcomings once overlooked. Marriage, like life, advises this axiom: Growing older includes growing up.
Reviving one’s marriage is vitally important. Some couples do this easily: They go dancing, go to athletic events, the gym, a movie, or plan a date once a week.
A happy marriage is directly related to personal sacrifice. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 Ephesians 5:21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
American King James Version×). God’s marriage plan works. We must work His plan to reap the benefits.
Thanks for reading and applying the godly principles of The Good News. May your marriage be as happy as God intended!