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July 22, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Happy Couples Live Longer, Study Says

Marital bliss is for the honeymoon. When you're in the throes of family life with kids, it can all get out of whack. Learn how to keep your love alive ... and maybe life longer, too!

study published in Psychological Science sheds light on the importance of marital bliss:  a happy spouse increases the length of your life.
    Researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands interviewed more than 4,000 couples living in the U.S. over the age of 50.
    "The data show that spousal life satisfaction was associated with mortality, regardless of individual's socioeconomic and demographic characteristics," says Olga Stavrova, one of the researchers with the study. "Or physical status," she adds.
    For up to eight years, couples reported on their life satisfaction, and at the eight-year point, 16% of participants had died who had reported less satisfaction in their relationship and having a partner who also reported less satisfaction in the relationship.
    Stavrova discovered that the risk of death for participants with a happy mate increased more slowly than the death risk for participants with an unhappy spouse.
    "If your partner is depressed and wants to spend the evening eating chips in front of the TV — that's how your evening will end up looking as well," Stavrova says.
    So what are the keys to marital bliss?


Of course, happiness related to marriage is easier said than done. It's not easy keeping a "oneness" sort of life going in between life occurrences, kids and growing older. However, according to, there are 15 key secrets to a successful marriage. Read up to increase your life span!

1) BE INDEPENDENT: Husbands and wives must take time for themselves, enjoy their personal hobbies, and in general, spend some time apart. 

2) BE A GOOD LISTENER: Active listening involves the heart. Listen to each other.

3) AGREE TO DISAGREE: You will have different opinions and opposing views sometimes. Successful, loving couples respect each other's points of view.

4) COMMUNICATE: Know your partner. Take time to check in with each other weekly. Know each other's preferences and little things about each other. says knowing each other's love language is helpful. 

5) ACCEPTANCE: When you married, you were fine with each other. What happened? Remember to accept one another and stay close as you grow.

6) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: When you argue, disagree, behave badly or do something that makes your spouse unhappy, take responsibility for it.

7) DON'T TAKE EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED: It's easy to become complacent when you're so used to each other. Beware of this trap. You promised to respect your partner indefinitely.

8) DATE EACH OTHER: Simply carve out "just us" time in the middle of busy, busy family life. Encourage each other to pursue fun, new ideas together and do it!

9) ADD ROMANCE: Give her flowers JUST BECAUSE not because you're supposed to. Surprise him with his favorite meal. Take a walk together to watch a sunset. Sprinkle in the little, sweet things in life for each other.

10) KEEP INTIMACY ALIVE: Sex is a gift in life to enjoy. Keep it alive — it should be a regular occurrence for you both. If it's not, this is a solid indicator that some work needs to be done on your marriage.

11) COMPLIMENT: "A compliment a day keeps the divorce attorney away."

12) LOOK FOR VULNERABILITY: Try to tap into each other's softer emotions. Behind the anger is the hurt. Behind the disappointment is a softer person — try to tap into that.

13) LET GO OF THE FANTASY: Marriage is not a fairytale. While your wedding may have been, marriage is about spending life together, the good, the bad and the ugly.

14) DON'T CONTROL: Your expectations for your life — or your spouse's life — change over time. Good communication, independent time and healthy indulgences will keep you on track. Remember, you are separate people. Be separate people together.

15) DON'T USE THE "D" WORD: The fastest way to hitting the rocks as a couple is to say "divorce." Don't do it.


About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.