Principle-1When you truly value something, you make sure to spend time and energy on it. Your marriage is no different. In order to enjoy a marriage which continues to give you the love and support you long for, you must pay it constant, careful attention. Couples who spend time regularly taking stock of how they are doing and focusing on improving their relationship invariably experience happy marriages.

Principle-2Most of us want what we don’t need and fail to want what we do need. But our needs remain whether we fulfill them or ignore them—we need water, we need sleep, we need spiritual fulfillment, we need lifelong learning. High levels of stress and sickness are often the result of not having needs met and this directly impacts the marriage. As we take responsibility for our own needs and begin meeting them, we find an increased ability to live other principles and work harder on our marriage.

Principle-3Whenever there is trouble in your marriage, resentments tend to build. As they do, they become poisonous to the relationship, destroying the love and goodness in your marriage. That is why it is critical to better understand what resentment truly is, how it is created and how to rid yourself and your marriage of it. As you begin to live this principle in conjunction with other principles of happy marriages, you will witness a dramatic change in yourself and a significant increase in your desire to improve your marriage and love will return.

Principle-4Addiction can cripple even the best of marriages if not dealt with properly and promptly. As in every area of life, addiction recovery is built on principles.  After a 30-year battle with a pornography addiction, I finally discovered the principles of recovery and gained permanent sobriety for myself. For this reason, I offer FREE addiction recovery support. Regardless of the addiction, the steps to recovery are the same. If you or someone you love are suffering with addiction, please click on the addiction recovery icon in the right sidebar and/or inquire to find out more about how to get involved in our program.

Principle-5“Love is a verb” is a popular phrase that is often quoted but unfortunately is less often lived. Yet it is so true. Love is an action that we can take even when we aren’t feeling love. And when we understand the many ways in which we can show love to our spouse and we do the actions of love, an amazing thing happens—the feeling of love returns.

Principle-6 So often we want others to be just like us and do things our way. Yet, in a marriage it can actually be better to have a mate that’s different than us. Because of their differences, our spouse makes up for our weaknesses and can bring strengths to the relationship that we desperately need. By learning to not only accept but embrace our differences we increase our respect and ability to love each other.

Principle-7Many arguments and hurt feelings are a result of breaking this one principle. However, in our experience, most of the time couples are hurting each other out of ignorance. Many people believe they thoroughly understand their spouse simply because they have known them and lived with them for many years. Often, this isn’t the case at all. Many times we think our spouses “habits” are who they are and they aren’t. As we come to see how they think, what they value most, their unique gifts and strengths, we gain the empathy and insights which build the marriage and move it to a whole new level of depth and fulfillment.

Principle-8Trust is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability and surety of a person.” This means that when trust is low in your marriage, you don’t know if you can rely on your partner in certain ways. Because trust is the foundation of any functioning relationship, when trust has eroded, it becomes extremely difficult to work together, to set goals or to effectively move forward with your lives. This is why it’s critical that you work to restore trust as quickly as possible. There are many tools you can use to rebuild trust including learning and living other relationship principles.

Principle-9Clear, considerate communication is important for a happy marriage. Despite the fact that in marriage counseling today communication is virtually the only marriage principle taught, couples often still struggle with this principle. In many cases, though, poor communication is a by-product of other more core principles that are being broken—such as resentment and forgiveness or trust. When communication is improved in conjunction with other marriage principles, couples see dramatic improvement in their enjoyment of each other’s company and their love for each other.

Principle-10The principle of healthy boundaries is a commonly misunderstood and underutilized principle yet it’s critical to the happiness of the marriage. When we don’t understand and honor boundaries, resentments inevitably build which undermine the foundation of the relationship. Unfortunately, boundaries are almost never taught and few couples consider them in working toward a better marriage. Additionally, boundaries can become even more difficult to assert in the marriage when addiction is present. The result is a downward spiral of broken boundaries, increasing resentment and a decaying relationship. That’s why learning the characteristics of boundaries and applying them in your marriage is so essential to your happiness.

Principle-11The marital relationship is the most complex of all your relationships because you share everything with your spouse and you must work together to get things done. When responsibilities are not fairly and clearly defined, important things fall through the cracks and either go undone or become sources of contention in the marriage. But if a couple distributes ownership in a thoughtful and planned manner, it is amazing how the levels of resentment drop and the number of arguments reduce significantly, creating increased harmony, unity and happiness.

Principle-12This principle deals with unity in the marriage. Not being unified is extremely taxing especially because the one person you expect to be in the trenches with you seems to be fighting you as well. Principles are the key to creating marital unity. Rather than a focus on who is right and who is wrong, when couples begin focusing on understanding and applying principles, unity is the result. Above all else, this is the key to healing your marriage—learning and living true principles.