According to Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, their thirty years of marriage research has shown that the best marriages worldwide use specific words and phrases as they talk about their relationship with each other.
Here are the words and phrases commonly used by happily married couples. They are categorized into the seven pervasive characteristics of successful marriage.
1. TOGETHERNESS In successful marriages, two become one in so many positive and important ways without losing their individual identities. The most important words and phrases used by successfully married couples are: We, us, our, together, team, we are like one, we cannot imagine life without each other.
2. TRUTHFULNESS: In successful marriages, couples talk about anything and everything. There are no sacred cows—no secrets. In the best marriages you hear these words and phrases: Confidant, complete trust, we never worry about betrayal, we know nearly everything about each other, we are the keepers of each other’s deepest and darkest secrets.
3. RESPECT: Successful love and marriage is about mutual love and respect. In the best marriages you hear these words and phrases: Mutual respect, admiration, kindness, politeness, we do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return, we put each other’s needs first.
Successfully married couples do all these things automatically.
4. FITNESS: In successful marriages, to live until “death do us part” requires a mutual concern about good health. Here are the words and phrases they use: Health, fitness, exercise, vitamins, nutrition, salads, taking annual physical exams, take your medicine, we exercise together, we shop for food together.
5. JOINT FINANCES: In successful marriage, it is not YOUR money and MY money. It is OUR money. Here are the words and phrases they use: Our financial goals, our house, our bills, joint decision-making, joint finances (no separate checking accounts), live within our means, we talk before we buy big items.
6. TACTILE COMMUNICATION: In successful marriages, touching each other multiple times per day is the norm. Their mantra is, “I love you so much I must touch you.” They use these words and phrases: Warmth, caring, friendship, love, understanding, we love to hug, we have great sex, touching acknowledges our presence, our hands communicate loving messages, touching is our private Morse Code.
7. SURPRISE: Successful marriages are exciting, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. Boredom is not an option! The best marriages use words and phrases like: Variety, upending expectancies, fun, adventure, romance, passion, always finding something to do together, we never get bored with each other, we are each other’s best friends.
If you don’t hear these words and phrases in your marriage and relationship, you may have some work to do. Get started today forming the habits that communicate love.