The Eight Habits of Highly Effective Marriages (Part 1)

Some habits can change your life for better or worse. Steven Covey, in 1989, published a book that has been well-regarded all over the world as the marquee self-help guide to personal effectiveness. His “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has helped millions of people from all walks of life become better by applying the principles he outlined in the book into everyday living.

Like Steven, I believe that there are principles that every married person should turn into a habit in order for their marriage to succeed. Having been around married people all my life, seeing and examining the good with the bad, I have found that by following the principles I lay out here (some unconsciously but intentionally), happy married couples are able to navigate the difference between a fulfilled, happy marriage versus a struggling, anemic marriage.

Shall we speak of it? Let’s go!

1. Convert
I believe that every “successful” marriage starts in the minds of the individuals involved. No financial acumen or physical ability can trump the inexhaustible power of a changed mind.

Conversion of a person from single-mindedness to marriage consciousness is the foremost principle in effective relationships. The single act of allowing yourself to convert from using “I”, “me”, “mine” and other self, exclusive pronouns to “us”, “we”, “our” and more inclusive pronouns bodes well in having a marriage that’s well on its way to happiness. Take this principle and turn it into a daily exercise (a habit) and you would have a safe and secured spouse who will exude confidence and esteem for your marriage.

2. Communicate
This principle, though self revealing, is so commonly spoken of that it can lose its meaning as time progresses in a relationship. But for your marriage to be effective, you must champion this principle into a daily habit that you become a reader of your spouse’s spoken and unspoken desires, demands, and dreams.

Often times in a marriage it is not what is said that matters the most, rather it is the in-between messages that is most important but often lost in translation. When I’m around healthy marriages – where husbands and wives are communicating at random and with liberty – one thing surfaces that a casual observer may notice but not realize: healthy couples speak in between their words. The understanding (and the pick up) of these unspoken conversations by the spouse is the nectar of their marital communication and health. Learning the unspoken language of your spouse and actually using it to benefit your marriage – on a daily basis – can provide your spouse with a sense of worth that no other can give them. When you listen to what others don’t even know is being spoken, you are well on your way to a personally satisfying marriage.

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Well, there’s your first two. :-). What do you think the other six are? Let me know with your comment below.

I will continue this series in subsequent entries so look for it. You can be notified of new entries by becoming a follower. Hope to have you in the conversation. God bless.

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