We have heard the song lyrics a thousand times: “Love Is All You Need” and “Love Means You Never Have to Say You’re Sorry.”
As a marriage therapist, I wish it were that simplistic for couples to experience true love and happiness. After being married over 33 years, and working with couples over the past dozen years, the truth lies much deeper than “wishful thinking”!
So, what are the secrets to a happy marriage? Are there specific strategies and skills that if followed and applied, will guarantee marital bliss?
I believe I discovered an important key to unlock the door that will lead couples to that “place-setting.” I found it hanging on the kitchen wall of some friends of ours a few weeks ago:
Recipe for a Happy Marriage
4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
Dash of Faith
3 cups of Kindness
4 cups of Understanding
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoonfuls of Hope
1 barrel of Laughter
Pinch of Forgiveness
Dash of Thoughtfulness
Take love and loyalty and mix thoroughly with faith. Blend in kindness and understanding, add friendship and hope. Sprinkle abundantly with laughter. Garnish with forgiveness and thoughtfulness. Bake with sunshine. Serve daily with generous helpings.
These ingredients are more than “WORDS” of love; they are “ACTS” of love! Both are necessary ingredients to “spice up” a marriage, but if couples are willing to dedicate themselves to following this “savory” recipe, they will “taste and see” all God intended for marriage, from the very beginning: Becoming one in heart, mind, body and spirit!
The Bottom line: Couples do need to learn and practice better communication and conflict management skills, coping strategies, and speak one another’s “love languages.” But I believe the most important advice is following a God-inspired “recipe” hanging on the wall, right in front of our noses! Each ingredient SO necessary to creating an appetizing “main course” and delicious “deserts,” for a sweet, lasting taste that will satisfy every marriage relationship!