What makes a marriage last?

What makes a marriage last?

Marriage & The Family

Thursday, July 09, 2020

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SUMMER is usually the time for love and weddings, and in Jamaica we spend more time getting ready for the wedding than preparing for the marriage. As a result many beautiful wedding days are followed by years of misery or, at best, minimal happiness. Today noted family counsellor Dr Barry Davidson shares insights on what makes a marriage last, from a survey that was done in Jamaica interviewing people who had been married for 45 years and over.

Shared values

Similar values, having the same social and/or religious backgrounds.


Lasting relationships depend more on “I like you” than on “I love you”.


Intimacy involves listening, and listening is the language of love. Happy couples encourage intimacy through praise and mutual reinforcement.

Fighting fair

Whether lovers grow apart can often be traced to how conflicts are resolved.


Most successful couples acknowledge that many problems are unsolvable and learn to work around them. They focus on what's good about the relationship, so that it becomes the core of the relationship, while negatives become peripheral.


Virtually all researchers agree that sexual attraction peaks within the first year or two of a relationship. But the happiest couples still have plenty of 'sexy' feelings left. Staying at a peak isn't necessary for a happy union; an enduring attraction is. An ongoing sexual relationship with one person is the most intense, fulfilling experience any human can have.


The lovers with the best chance for happiness contribute equally to a relationship.


Feelings of love may wax and wane during a relationship, but trust is a constant. Infidelity is the most devastating betrayal of trust a couple can experience.


Successful couples don't take each other for granted, but work constantly at rejuvenating their good feelings for each other. The most satisfied couples put more thought and energy into their relationship than they put into their children or careers. Commitment serves as the cornerstone of marriage; first a commitment to God and then a commitment to each other.

Dr Barry Davidson is noted family counsellor and CEO of Family Life Ministries.

Send comments to allwoman@jamaicaobserver. com or familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com.

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