Marriage is a complex social phenomenon that is based not only on positive emotions of love but also on the ability of a couple to work towards the success of their relationship. Thus, many factors influence the positive outcomes of marriage and prevent individuals from experiencing disappointment or regret in the future. In this paper, factors that go into relationship and marriage satisfaction will be explored in order to understand their effects better as well as provide a guideline of successful relationships between people.
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The way in which an individual perceives his or her loved one can significantly influence the success of a relationship and the satisfaction with it. According to Gagne and Lydon (2004), the ability to see people in a positive light is shown to be a hallmark of the most enduring and satisfying relationships. Thus, positive bias usually enriches marriage and relationship satisfaction because it contributes to greater commitment, trust, love, and less ambivalence and conflict between people. Overall, positive bias shoes to help people have positive feelings about their relationships and maintain the conviction that they are worth keeping.
The absence of social barriers is another contributor to successful marriages or intimate relationships as individuals have to be ‘on the same page when it comes to starting a family. Edin and Reed (2005) explored the barriers to marriage among the disadvantaged population to find that success depends on how socially prepared individuals are. For example, if their marital aspirations and expectations do not match reality, it is likely that a marriage will be unsuccessful. Economic standards also play important roles because each person has a specific standard of living and will experience difficulties adjusting to the financial situation that is not familiar to them. Therefore, the absence of stress-inducing barriers is likely to contribute to the success of a marriage.
It is important to note that successful marriages do not work on the basis of cohabitation and relationship inertia; rather, the continuance of strong relationships is enhanced through consistent efforts to improve, learn from each other, and share mutual goals. As mentioned by Stanley, Rhoades, and Markman (2006), relationship quality is usually lower among couples who have cohabited prior to marriage.
This view is based on the commitment theory, which implies that commitment trumps competitive market conditions between partners in favor of joint outcomes. Therefore, instead of inert living and cohabitation, it is imperative for couples to share a similar level of dedication, which helps in developing a sense of strong couple identity. Also, dedication is a positive contributor because it increases the likelihood of individuals placing the interests of their partners first. Lastly, according to Umberson, Thomeer, and Lodge (2015), emotion work targets at minimizing and maintaining partners’ boundaries can be essential for understanding intimacy and connection in long-term relationships.
In summary, positive relationships within marriage and subsequent satisfaction are based on mutual work towards shared goals as well as the understanding of emotions and interests of partners and putting them firsts. It should be mentioned that there is no one distinct approach to ensure that a marriage is successful because what works for some couples may not work for others. However, dedication and positive perceptions shape successful relationships because they help individuals see the good in their partners and prioritize their well-being over anything else.
Edin, K., & Reed, J. (2005). Why don’t they just get married? Barriers to marriage among the disadvantaged. The Future of Children, 15(2), 117-137.
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Gagne, F., & Lydon, J. (2004). Bias and accuracy in close relationships: An integrative review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(4), 322-338.
Stanley, S., Rhoades, G., & Markman, H. (2006). Sliding versus deciding: Inertia and the premarital cohabitation effect. Family Relations, 55(4), 499-509.
Umberson, D., Thomeer, M., & Lodge, A. (2015). Intimacy and emotion work in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(2), 542-556.