10 Tips for Successful Couples

Successful couples 1, © Can Stock Photo / Bialasiewicz Successful couples know they need help with their relationship.  That’s why successful couples are successful—they regularly think about how to build one another up, work through issues, and grow their relationship in healthy ways.

Not every couple is always successful, though.  I hear this in the counseling office and in everyday conversations.  I know, too, from firsthand experience as a married person that it takes work to stay happily married.  Let’s face it—most of us as couples need at least a little help successfully achieving a I Corinthians 13 relationship.

Below, you’ll find 10 tips for successful couples that I compiled from a 12-session Successful couples 2, © Can Stock Photo / Bialasiewiczmarriage class I recently taught.  These are simple truths that I’ve learned from my studies over time, my work as a professional counselor, and my own personal experiences.  These will likely be familiar to you and, I hope, a helpful reminder of some things we can do to be successful couples.

Tip 1

Celebrate what’s right in the relationship.  Looking for and being grateful for the good can help change how you feel about the not-so-good.  Successful couples often express appreciation for and to one another and make the most of their strengths.

Tip 2

Accept differences in opinion and perspective.  So many of us fight battles that can be avoided when we accept that we’re not going to agree 100% of the time.  Remembering Matthew 22:39 can help here: “Love your neighbor as yourself” [even if you don’t agree on how to fold the laundry].

Tip 3

Believe that you’re both right to some degree.  Admit it!  Our loved ones are not wrong nearly as often as we might like to believe.  Successful couples validate one another and work together to solve problems as opposed to competing against one another.  [Be encouraged: Experts have determined that swallowing your pride is not hazardous to your health.]

Tip 4

Choose to forgive one another.  Generally speaking, we can be more gracious and forgiving of each other’s imperfections.  Too many of us are too good at “knit-picking.”  I’m personally convicted here, especially when I think about my own shortcomings and how God has forgiven me (Matthew 6:9-13; Romans 3:23).  I forgive more easily when I think about this.

Tip 5

Learn to trust each other.  Successful couples value each other’s partnership in life and protect each other and their relationship at all costs.  This means that we’re trustworthy, dependable people that our loved ones can count on.  [If you brought mistrust issues from previous relationships, or if there is disloyalty or hurt between the two of you, professional counseling may be helpful for support and direction.]

Tip 6

Don’t take each other for granted.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and abandon our friendship and romance.  To counter this, successful couples get creative.  They do things like speak other’s love language, for example.  To learn more about The Five Love Languages and take the free online quiz, go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Tip 7

Know what season your marriage is in, and do the work that is required of that season.  Our relationships experience many spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons.  Each season has its joys and challenges, and each has potential for emotional closeness and emotional distance.  Successful couples pay attention to their relationship, sense seasonal challenges, and do the work that is required in each season to grow closer together.  For more insight, watch as Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Freda Crews discuss the four seasons of marriage at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFV7_mTkznM

Tip 8

Husbands love your wives.  Wives respect your husbands.  This counsel comes directly from Ephesians 5:33: “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”  Both men and women want and need love and respect.  Yet, as Dr. Emerson Eggerichs teaches in his book, Love and Respect, women often value love over respect, whereas men often value respect over love.  Successful couples work to understand and appreciate the love-and-respect balance in their relationship.

Tip 9

Cultivate the fruits of the Spirit to improve your relationship.  This requires us tending our relationship with God.  No relationship with God means no spiritual fruit.  No spiritual fruit means difficult relationships.  It’s as easy as that.  What do you need to do to cultivate more fruit of the Spirit?  As a reminder, those fruit are: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Tip 10

It may be you!  Do your part!  We can be really good at blaming the other person for our relationship failures when sometimes it’s actually us—me and you—that are responsible for the tension we’re feeling in our relationship.  We each must take accountability for our individual contribution to the relationship, stop making excuses, and get busy doing our fair share to make the relationship more successful.

In closing…

If you’re like me and so many, change doesn’t happen fast.  But, it doesn’t happen at all if we don’t start somewhere!  Why not start with one or more of these 10 Tips for Successful Couples?  Small steps are better than no steps!!


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Scripture references in this article are from the New American Standard Version and linked to www.Biblegateway.com.

Photos from © Can Stock Photo / Bialasiewicz

By |2018-09-27T16:53:08+00:00November 19th, 2016|All posts, Marriage|4 Comments

About the Author:

Co-author with @DrGaryChapman (the 5 love languages guy). Teacher @WakeForest. Counselor @TriadBaptist. Wife, mom of 3, daughter, sister, friend. Writer. Encourager. Dreamer behind Repurposed Life Ministries, Inc. Peace-loving. Jesus-seeking. I hope you'll subscribe to receive Hope to Build On by email each time I post a new entry. Thanks for reading! Shannon


  1. Richard Maas November 19, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Shannon, thank you for sharing from the wealth of your knowledge. You truly are an instrument of the Lord. I often tell couples, pushing your own agenda and insisting your spouse is to join you in accepting your agenda is what causes conflict. We need to be grateful for the other’s perspective so we can learn and grow to become stronger people. Les and Leslie Parrot say, “genuine love is accepting the person the way they are instead of trying to change them.” We need to remember, our self-centered thinking is a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden.

    • Shannon Warden November 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Richard! In some ways, it takes a lot of work to stop pushing for our individual agendas because those tendencies have often been with us for so long. But, if we can just give it a try…trusting the other person, remembering their value to us and their value to God, treating them with grace and respect…then we find out that we truly can live differently and with more peace in our relationships. Thanks again for your input and for your good counsel to me and so many over the years!

  2. Julieth May 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Very good article. I wish my husband wants to do something for our relation. As you said succesful marriage always are looking to improve in the area they have situations and work on it. I am ready to give up if he does not want to do something for our relation. I am tired to suggest him things to do to save our relation but he is blind. Its sad when I see how its crumbled it each day…..

    • Shannon Warden May 31, 2017 at 1:03 am - Reply

      Julieth, I’m sorry to hear of your heartache. It is truly hard when one person is working on the relationship and the other isn’t. You can only do your part. If you haven’t already, take a look at http://www.5lovelanguages.com to see if you and your husband might benefit from that very useful concept. And, perhaps your husband might be open to counseling with a professional in your area. But, if not, then again, you can only do your part. Hopefully you will have peace that you tried your best.

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