I grew up around a variety of marital situations. I had relatives that were single, that were married and then divorced, that were cohabiting (and I never knew they weren’t married until I was older) and that were married for a very long time. My parents have been married for over 40 years, and my grandparents were married until death did they part.
And although I saw marriages growing up, I never saw any couples that seemed to be happy together. I never saw couples holding hands or hugging. I never heard spouses speaking positively about each other (I was more apt to overhear some of the negative things when the adults were talking.) And I never saw togetherness of any sort … they would arrive at family functions together and go their separate ways until the it was time to leave.
Of course this does not mean that they were actually “unhappily” married. It’s merely the impression that I have about the marriages I grew up seeing. And although, from my perspective, I did not see any happy marriages growing up, I still wanted to be married … happily married.
As Lamar and I tour the country with our films on marriage, we meet so many people that say they never want to get married because of the bad examples that they saw growing up. They are afraid of having the same experiences in their own relationships. And that’s exactly why we promote positive images of marriage with our website and films because we want everyone to know that healthy happy marriages do exist … for everyone. Regardless of what you saw growing up or what you see around you now, you too can have the marriage and relationship that you desire to have.
Here are 7 ways you can have a happy marriage, even if you did not see any growing up:
7 Ways to Have a Happy Marriage
1. Don’t Be a Victim
If you grew up seeing bad marriages all around you or no marriages at all, it does not mean that you will have the same fate. In the book, Desperate Marriages: Moving Toward Hope and Healing in Your Relationship, Dr. Gary Chapman states:
“Your environment certainly affects who you are, but it does not control you. Rather than being a helpless victim, you can overcome an environment cluttered with obstacles … Your environment may influence you, but it need not dictate your marriage and your life.”