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Healthy Marriage

Healthy marriage is a topic that currently is much talked and written about in the news, and on the web. On the web, several sites exist that are devoted to healthy marriage, namely: (1) the Healthy Marriage Initiative website that is maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families; (2) the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center that is funded by the same agency.

Researchers at the University of Maryland have identified married persons in a healthy marriage as those who:

  • Share a healthy philosophy of life with clear ideals
  • Are growing in friendship and respect as well as love for each other
  • Share many interests and activities together
  • Enjoy each other’s company
  • Are trusting and trustworthy;
  • Are interpersonally honest yet tactful
  • Are interdependent
  • Are proud of each other’s achievements, and give realistic praise
  • Are interested in and respect each other’s work
  • Share in decision making
  • Try to share and make monotonous work interesting, such as household chores
  • Have realistic hopes linked to attainable goals
  • Take responsibility for decisions and behavior
  • Will, if education is needed to reach goals, patiently delay marriage to continue their schooling
  • Have a mindset which sees problems as challenges to be solved
  • Have usually been seriously interested in at least three other possible mates before making their final choice, and have affected “break-ups” in non-destructive ways
  • Are able to live within their financial means
  • Are aware of their weaknesses and show efforts at constructive change
  • Use criticism wisely, but maintain a balance in which there is more praise than criticism
  • Are “real” people, genuine and authentic
  • Find that the growing relationship helps each person become more sure of him/herself
  • Engage in healthy physical activities – get adequate nutrition, exercise and sleep
  • Restrict their use of sarcasm, nagging, embarrassment and complaining
  • Enjoy talking and listening to one another, even when discussing areas of conflict
  • Experienced courtships that were not frantic or rushed (over 60% of the early divorces were due to hurried marriages- where the couples were very young, not well acquainted, and where the engagement period was very short)
  • Are empathic and attempt to understand and meet their partner’s needs
  • Did not elope (4 out of 5 couples who elope, ultimately divorce)
  • Enjoy giving of themselves to others – they desire to give as well as to get
  • Used their courtship time to thoroughly get acquainted, and grow in love
  • Carefully consider the issues that face them, evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives. They try not to jump to hasty conclusions regarding important relationship issues
  • Marry out of respect and affection, not out of pity or sympathy
  • Enjoy each other’s families, in spite of their possible faults
  • Talked through a number of sexual issues during their engagement period
  • Enjoy a healthy, non-destructive and appropriate use of humor
  • Are satisfied with the amount of affection demonstrated in their relationship
  • Try to change personal habits that are irritating to their spouse
  • Try not to dwell on past mistakes, but look ahead to ways of avoiding similar situations in the future
  • Are able to forgive and receive forgiveness from one another

Inside Healthy Marriage