Every marriage is unique, but there are definite ingredients for success.
No matter how different you and your partner are, having a shared vision and overlapping values will ensure that your marriage works well and is rewarding for both of you.
If you’re aligned on these goals you can be on a different page about many other topics.
Here are the key goals that partners should both share.
1) Curiosity for life and the world
Curiosity and wonder are the start of philosophy and science, and they’re also a key ingredient of love that lasts.
When you and your partner have curiosity about the world and want to explore, you will find that you naturally complement each other.
You want to see new places, experience different cultures and be introduced to new ideas.
You’re on an epic journey with challenges, excitement and the unknown just around the corner.
And you want to experience it all together.
2) Shared goals on family formation
Do you want kids? Does your partner?
Being on the same page about this, generally speaking, is a must for a marriage that will last.
Of course these desires change:
Those who don’t want kids sometimes come to decide they do want them. Those who desire to have a family sometimes move away from that goal.
But if you are able to talk this over honestly and discuss having kids and know that your partner understands and truly respects your position and at least mostly shares it, you will have a great marriage.
Being on a different page about what family means to you, the meaning of marriage and having kids can unfortunately lead to ongoing tensions and issues in the marriage.
This leads into the next point…
3) Religious and spiritual compatibility
If you are religiously and spiritually compatible, your marriage has a much greater chance of success.
This doesn’t necessarily need to mean you share the same religious faith or spiritual path.
But on more fundamental matters it can mean that you’re better off sharing similar values:
For example if one of you believes strongly in a benevolent higher power or God and the other finds the idea upsetting and untrue?
This can be a big problem!
When you share a goal of what spirituality or religion means to you and how to live that on a daily basis, however, it means your marriage is generally going to be much happier.
4) Saving money and financial responsibility
Next up we come to finances. This is such an important topic for couples.
Everybody handles finances their own way, and it’s not my place to say who should have a shared account or how prenuptial agreements and other such things should be arranged.
What is true is that you and your partner should share a similar view on saving money and how you handle purchases and spending.
If one of you has a very different relationship to money and spends a lot while the other is very uncomfortable spending and has financial anxiety?
This is a recipe for disaster (and very common).
It’s crucial to ensure you’re both on the same page when it comes to your approach to saving money and your general plans and goals for your money (and key purchases or rental decisions as regards things like vehicles and a home).
5) Compatible career goals and aspirations
Marriage is deeply impacted by many things, but perhaps nothing as much as career.
If your partner is working all the time or vice versa, it can put a strain on the marriage.
At the same time, it also makes a big difference what one or both of you are working on.
Can you communicate with your partner about your job? Does it interest them?
Are your career goals similarly ambitious or does one of you want to settle down and retire much earlier than the other?
Do your career goals lead you to wanting to live in a similar place or does one career lead more to a rural life and the other to urban?
These are all important things to consider.
6) Leading an active and healthy lifestyle
Another shared goal that’s key to having a healthy and happy marriage is a shared activity level.
Couples that play together stay together.
If you both like jogging or have sports you do together, your marriage will be a lot more fun. You’ll also be cranking up your endorphins and generally feeling much better on the individual level.
If you both share the goal of having an active lifestyle, you’re going to have a much better marriage.
On the other hand, if you’re a bit more in line with the homebody lifestyle and don’t really like to do that much physical activity, it’s best to find a partner who’s also less into the active lifestyle!
These kinds of pragmatic things like aligning your activity level become very important in marriage and can even make or break it in the long term.
7) Allowing your partner space and time alone
Another shared goal that’s crucial for a successful marriage is a mutual commitment to self-growth.
In other words:
You both give each other space and time alone, and you expect the same.
Ironically, too much closeness and love has killed far too many marriages. We’re all individuals, and we all need to experience the world as individuals even when we’re fully committed to someone.
You and your partner want to be close and love each other fully while still allowing each other to remain as separate beings.
This respect and intimate decision will empower your relationship and bring you together, allowing you to choose each other over and over knowing that when you need your own space, you have it.
8) Complementary level of communication and emotional sharing
Opposites do sometimes attract, and you and your partner may be different in almost every way.
But in order for your marriage to pass the test of time and be something that’s meaningful for you both, a complementary level of communication and emotional vulnerability is key.
Think of this as clothes that fit together with other clothes to make a great outfit:
If you talk quite a lot and your partner is quiet, that’s great, as long as your partner doesn’t feel overwhelmed and has a chance to talk and feel seen.
If you are not as much into joking and witticisms but your partner is the ultimate jokester, pay attention to how the two of you complement each other.
Does your partner genuinely enjoy your style of communicating? Do you? Do you share emotions in ways that fill each other’s needs or does one of you hold back in a way that’s hurtful?
9) Having fun and being able to laugh together
The previous point about humor relates to something key:
Do you and your partner make each other laugh? Do you share a sense of humor and a goal for what you find funny in the world?
Or do you find your partner attractive but not share their idea of what’s funny and amusing?
Humor compatibility is a key aspect of marriage, and it can keep couples together long after the initial physical attraction or even intellectual attraction may have faded away.