Finding Happiness in Marriage

Me and my husband, Scott, getting ready to cut the wedding cake 36 years ago.

Me and my husband, Scott, getting ready to cut the wedding cake 36 years ago.

This week my husband, Scott, and I celebrated 36 years of marriage. Whoop! Whoop! I can honestly say that I love my husband more than the day I married him and our years together have been joyful ones that have flown by.

Actually, studies have shown that getting hitched is good for our happiness. In general, married people report greater happiness than those who have never been married, and those who are divorced, widowed or separated.

Not to say that you can’t be happy if you’re not married. In my personal opinion, it is much better to be single than unhappily married. If you are using your life for a greater purpose, I absolutely believe you can be happy as a single person.

That being said, if you choose to marry, how do you find happiness?

When people ask me how my husband and I have stayed happily married for so long, I have to credit Bible principles. Here are five that we have lived by:

  • Be considerate and care for your mate’s feelings. Instead of always looking out for your own personal interests, look out for the interests of your spouse. Choose your words carefully before speaking and communicate with kindness, respect, and love.
  • Be realistic. When you get married you may think everything will be easy and perfect. However, since we’re all imperfect, that standard is too high. Expect problems. When confrontations arise, listen carefully with an open mind. Be patient, forgiving, and understanding.
  • Focus on your spouse’s good qualities and remember why you chose to spend a lifetime with your mate. Work as a team. Learn to be united in your thoughts and feelings.
  • Make your marriage a priority. Remember that your marriage is one of the most important things in your life. Make sure you regularly spend quality time together and give each other undivided attention. Make your spouse feel needed and appreciated. Look for ways to make each other happy.
  • Take your vows seriously. Do not look at divorce as an option “if things don’t work out.” Be loyal and determined to make your marriage a success.

Of course, it helps if you choose the right person in the first place. I am very fortunate that even though I was young, I chose someone with the same values and goals. Scott is my best friend and we are extremely compatible. As Dr. James C. Dodson said, “Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.”

A recent picture of me and hubby hiking in the La Quinta's beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains.

A recent picture of me and hubby hiking in the La Quinta’s beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains.

Of course, Scott and I don’t always agree on every single thing, so we try our best to follow the tips I’ve outlined above. However, I do not feel like our marriage has been “hard work.” It’s been way more fun than that!

Each anniversary is a celebration of love, trust, loyalty, partnership, friendship, shared laughter, joy, new experiences and adventures – as well as determination and tenacity.

I wholeheartedly agree with a quote by Andre Maurois, “A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short.”


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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4 Responses

  1. Jackie says:

    A lovely post – I completely agree. Noel and I have been married for 16 years next week (novices compared to you!) – but we live by your ideals and also (and especially living on boats!) – we remember that when things go wrong, or one of us makes a mistake – we remember that we are just human, we all make mistakes and neither of us would do something ‘wrong’ on purpose. I hope this makes sense, I am not very articulate this morning. I am proud of being married for so long. Sometimes it is work (but not often) and getting through the rare rough patches makes it even better!

    • juliegorges says:

      Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. Sixteen years is nothing to sneeze at these days! And I agree with you, getting through the rough times together makes a marriage stronger and all the more sweeter.

  2. Linda Biggs says:

    What a fabulous post Julie, and the pictures of you and Scott are lovely. It’s quite a journey being married for so long, in my case 42 years! I’m about to retire therefore we’ll be spending a bit more time together. We’ve agreed this will need to be worked at, as my husband retired 3 years ago and has been happily pottering around on his own at home all that time. Now I’m about to throw a spanner in his works so life will certainly be interesting from now on.

    Keep the wonderful posts coming, I really enjoy them 😀

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks, Linda, and congratulations on such a long and successful marriage! I look forward to reading about how things go after you retire on your blog – it will be a new adventure for both of you, I’m sure.

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