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The Top 10 Strengths of a Happy Marriage
Berny Unruh

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I uncovered an article that was printed many years ago but it is possible the results may be very similar for today’s population. According to David Olson, professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota and his nationwide research with over 21,000 married couples, the top 10 strengths of a happy marriage are: 

10. They agree on spiritual beliefs.

9. They agree on how to spend money.

8. Family or friends rarely interfere.

7. They have a good balance or time alone and time together.

6. They are satisfied with affection they receive. 

5. They discuss problems well.

4. Their partner is not controlling.

3. They feel very close to each other.

2. They are creative in handling differences.

1. They are satisfied with their communication.

Communication is key in all relationships. In a strong marriage, partners do not use putdowns and are good listeners. Partners understand feelings and it should be easy to express your feelings to your partner. With our busy and high stress society, communication has become even more important. Having an equal relationship is difficult. 

And equal can mean many things but to me it means both partners should be willing to make adjustments not only in their roles but in all areas of their relationships. It might mean just dividing up the housework but it should also include making important decisions together. At the top of the list for marital arguments is how money will be spent. Maybe your goal will be that you not always agree about money, but to be able to discuss differences and reach a compromise. 

Having a happy marriage is hard work on both sides but most agree the benefits are worth it. 

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at