Do you know what is the #1 secret to a happy marriage? Perhaps there are many answers, but one, in particular, has helped me stay married for twenty-eight years.
In fact, I think many couples would agree it is hard to stay married without it. So what is the magic ingredient?
Sadly, over time, many of us get lazy in our marriage. It becomes more about “me” and my hurts instead of servanthood and forgiveness. For example, not too long ago my husband and I had a very frustrating problem happen to both of us. Believe me, I wanted to yell at him. In fact, I wanted to have a complete meltdown.
It could have easily gone bad if we did not forgive and work together to fix our “problem.” Hopefully, after you read this you will understand why forgiveness is the greatest secret to a happy marriage.
Working Through Marriage Problems
A couple of weeks ago, I was out at night with some girlfriends. My husband was home alone. He was locking up for the night and let the cat in like usual. Unfortunately, the cat snuck in with a mouse in her mouth.
A live mouse.
Usually, my husband can stop the cat at the door. Not this time.
In fact, the cat ran past him. Before he knew it, the cat stopped, looked up, and then meowed. When she opened her mouth, the mouse fell onto the floor and scurried away to parts unknown–inside our house.
My husband tried to find the mouse or get the cat to catch it again. No such luck. After a while, he gave up and went to bed.
I came home later that night and quietly got into bed so I would not disturb him. I was totally oblivious to the mouse situation. Moreover, I slept all night with a mouse in the house.
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What is the #1 Cause of Divorce
There are lots of reasons for divorce, but one that ranks at the top of the list is a lack of communication. Sadly, that is exactly what happened with my husband and me. There was a lack of communication on many levels.
The next morning, I got up just like normal. My husband and I ate breakfast and visited for a little while. There was no mention of a mouse. Later that morning, he nonchalantly brought up the cat, and that he let her in the night before.
I was thinking, “Okay, that’s nice. He let the cat in.”
Eventually, he got around to the fact that she had a mouse. Nothing unusual about that. My cat loved mice. She brings them to the door regularly–dead.
About 20 minutes later, he said something quietly about how a mouse came in with the cat the night before.
I finally put together that my cat brought in a live mouse. I thought for sure he was going to say he caught it. Or the cat caught it.
That part never came. I finally realized I slept in our house all night with a live mouse running around, and it still had not been found! To make me feel better, my husband said it was a very small mouse.
There is no such thing as a tiny mouse. A mouse is a mouse.
My first reaction…let’s burn the house down. No, really.
And then I wanted to spontaneously combust. Yell, scream, run around the house, stand on a chair, or just leave–forever. (This is not the secret to a happy marriage.)
You get the point.
Frankly, you can’t blame me. I slept all night with a mouse in the house, and I didn’t even know it.
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Marriage Takes Work
I had a fork in the road. Was I going to choose to forgive or else yell at my husband?
Since I am 53, I figured that it wasn’t appropriate to do the full meltdown. I would go for door number two. Try to forgive and work together to fix the problem.
Deep breathe. 1, 2, 3, 4. I can do this.
I had just got my wits about me when my husband informed me he was leaving for work. I thought we were going to work together to solve the problem as any loving couple would do in such a horrific crisis.
Nope. My husband strategically told me about the mouse right before he was leaving for work so he wouldn’t have to hear the meltdown. Furthermore, he planned to leave me all day with a live mouse in the house.
To make me feel better, he said he would bring something home to trap it that night.
Again, I thought about screaming, but it would not have done any good. The mouse would still be running around the house, and I would have to apologize later for my bad behavior.
Reluctantly, I decided to keep my mouth shut and make the best of a bad situation.
Angrily, I tiptoed around the house all day, praying the mouse would not jump out at me.
It was a long day avoiding the mouse and forgiving my husband after every step.
Later that night, my husband did bring home something to catch it. Only the mouse was too smart and remained on the loose…for three more days.
On the third day, we did catch the mouse only to be sabotaged by my cat again on the fourth day. Because, hey, three days isn’t long enough to see if you have a strong marriage.
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What Keeps a Marriage Strong?
The best way to keep a marriage strong is through open communication. After the first night, my husband and I talked through the issue. I realized he was doing everything he could to get rid of the mouse. It wasn’t his fault it happened.
He apologized for not telling me sooner. And I forgave him. This is the secret to a happy marriage.
I wish I could say that was the end of the mouse saga ie. marriage problem.
This time it happened early in the morning on the fourth day. My husband was up getting ready for work. He let the cat out around 5:30 a.m.
She had been roaming around for about an hour and wanted back in to eat. It was probably around 6:15 am. He opened the door only to find a RAT in her mouth this time.
And this one was a biggie.
I heard my husband saying loudly, “No Patches! You can’t come in! No! No! She’s got a rat! It’s a rat! She’s in! The cat came in with a rat!”
Meanwhile, I’m still in bed. Asleep. It’s 6:15 am. Guess where she went? Patches went straight for our bedroom WITH THE RAT.
I have never flown out of bed so fast. I am not a morning person. All of a sudden, there was a CAT and a RAT under my bed. The secret to a happy marriage is clearly not this…
How Do You Know If Your Marriage Is In Trouble?
There are many clues your marriage is in trouble. For instance, you can’t laugh at difficult situations. Or you withdraw, nitpick, or scream. Fortunately, I did none of these things.
Clearly, I decided to focus on the problem, not my husband. And practice the secret to a happy marriage–forgiveness.
Instead of having a meltdown, I got up and looked for the cat under my bed. I didn’t know if the rat was dead or alive. I had to find out.
Both of them were right in front of my face. The cat looked quite pleased with herself. The cat and the rat were laying right next to each other.
Thank goodness the rat was dead. Can you hear what I am saying? “Thank goodness there was a dead rat under my bed at 6:15 a.m.”
I could have put my head under the bed and come face to face with a live rat. Hmm. I’ll take dead!
After I got the dead rat out, we both started laughing.
We made a deal to look at the cat’s mouth from now on before she comes in. I’m so glad we both chose not to scream and yell at each other. It took a lot of self-control, but I knew it really wasn’t his fault.
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What Is the Secret to a Happy Marriage?
After twenty-eight years together, I have decided the secret to a happy marriage is forgiveness. There is no use fighting about something that can not be controlled.
Things just happen.
I had a choice. Yelling at my husband would have only delayed the mouse/rat problem. The cat was the issue, not him.
Most of the time, you will find the enemy is not your spouse, it’s our sinful nature or even Satan.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Keep reminding yourself that you and your husband are on the same team.
Next time you want to yell and scream at your spouse, pause and think about the situation. Control your initial reaction and then go into problem-solving mode.
Immediately start thinking, “What can I do to work together to fix the problem?” And forgive. That’s the secret to a happy marriage.
It will save you a lot of time and hurt feelings. And you will get rid of your “rat ” problem much faster.
What is your secret to a happy marriage? Does it include forgiveness?
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Tolerance and a sense of humor!! You need both for a happy marriage. The story of the mouse in the house is funny and I really like how that these characteristics shone through in your decisions on managing the situation.
Rachel, it has definitely taken years to get there. I would not have been so gracious in the earlier years. Having a happy marriage takes work, that’s for sure! Thanks for your comment.
This post is so relatable!! There are so many times when I find myself drifting away from the “we” and instead, finding fault. It’s so much better to remember that marriage is a team and that our spouse typically has our best interests at heart. Thank you so much for this great reminder of how to approach trials in a more effective way!!
Amanda, I hope this is a good reminder to married couples that to have a happy marriage you have to play as a team and laugh! Who knew such a horrible trial would be so funny. Thanks for your comment.
Laughter really is the best medicine!!
Lindsay, so true!
Thank you for being honest and vulnerable hear! I can see myself in this situation and also being angry. Choose to laugh! Great advice.
Jodi, every day is a choice. it is all about attitude!
Laughter is a great medicine & laughter in married life is like a tonic to being married life sweeter than sweetest. To be living married life with laughing at every movement should be loving in heaven & a successful life that doesn’t need anything in this frustrated world.
Thanks so much for your comment. I just now saw it. Yes, laughter in marriage is why we can still be in love.
My husband is always making me laugh. We have a story similar involving a snake. Then there was the time I left the sunroof open over night and bird flew in. He still gets a kick out of that….lol
Haha! Well, it doesn’t seem funny right when it happens, but it definitely can be funny when it’s over. I’ll take a rat over a snake. Eek
I agree a marriage should be filled with laughter. Your post was enjoyable to read. Thanks for the laugh.
Glad you found it humorous! Thanks for commenting.
Laughter is such an important part of marriage. There are way too many stresses already in life but that should be a relationship you can have to make you feel all those positive vibes.
So true! Thanks for the comment.
Laughter is so, so important in a marriage! If we don’t have laughter, what do we have?
You have a boring marriage if you can’t laugh!! Haha.
I enjoyed reading about the loose mouse in your house! I have to also agree here – laughter in marriage is very important. We can easily get carried away with our daily activities without having moments to sit and laugh about something. We have made it a point to talk share interesting and funny events after dinner time.
It is hard to sit and share when you have kids, games, etc. So important though. Thanks for reading!
This was so funny to read! My husband and myself have been married for almost 5 years and together for almost 9. It’s been a long road but we are now realizing that laughing is the best way to get through things. We’ve been through really hard times and it has made us fight but now we see the best thing we can do it be a team and be there for one another!
It is hard to sit and share when you have kids, games, etc. So important though. Thanks for reading!
Yeah, life is tough. Sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry!! Thanks for reading.
I think laughing is contagious. It’s fun to spend time with someone who makes you laugh, even better if that someone is your life partner!
I love to laugh. I wish I had more funny stories. Just nothing with rats!!
Love this – how funny! I couldn’t agree more about laughter in marriage. We’ve been married for 26 years and if we didn’t laugh so much, I don’t know what we would do?!
Oh yes! You’ve been married longer than me. It’s 25 this year. Sounds like you have a good thing going!!
I love your post! I currently enjoy my (second) marriage and laugh again every day.
Good ! Keep up the laughter. It’s better than crying!
This is a lovely post I read in the entire day. Trust me each word comes as a reminder on how much I need or we need to laugh in our daily life.
Thanks for such sweet encouragement. It does my heart good. ❤️❤️
I think my reaction would be the same as yours. Really there is no such thing as a small mouse. I get chills just thinking about it. You’re right about not getting angry about little stuff, laugh it off.
Oh, it’s hard sometimes. I almost have trained myself to laugh at things that are probably inappropriate to laugh at out loud. I have to watch my responses and n front of people!
Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh! I can completely understand as I hate the idea of them (dead or alive) in the house 🙂
Uh, yeah! The whole thing is just horrible. It makes me want to Clorox everything!! Haha.
Oh my goodness! This is hilarious and reminds me of a similar situation with our first house. We lived in a pretty low income area. There were renters on either side of us. We had a major mouse problem… this was partly due to the fact that our neighbors stopped paying for garbage services and had a “mouse playland” next door and partly because our house was 100 years old and had a stone foundation. One night my husband felt something crawling up his leg… it was a mouse! Thank goodness I wasn’t in bed yet! When he finally told me about the incident I desperately tried to fill every hole I could find. I couldn’t sleep for weeks without thinking every tickle was another mouse.
Laughter in a marriage is good medicine! Now when we look back at our first house with its many problems and laugh. It has helped us build some character into our marriage for sure.
I love this, thanks for sharing something funny to start my day!! Laughter in marriage should never stop, no matter what! 🙂 I’m blessed to be married to a silly soul.
I’m glad I gave you a good laugh to start your day! Thanks for reading!
Oh, now that is just awful. I’d be a crazy mess. You are so brave!!! Glad you’re laughing about it. Thanks for reading!
LOVE this perspective! I found out the hard way that I very much over-react to mice…so you are a small hero in my eyes for not burning your house down.
Oh, I wanted to. I resisted the urge to go crazy!!
This is such a funny story! I could only imagine your reaction if you husband would have left a note ??? We had a mouse on time but luckily I was out of town that weekend and my hubby caught it before I returned.
You lucked out, big time! Thanks for reading.
I agree laughter is very important. Me and my partner have no time to argue on things so we make it a point to laugh some issues instead of giving energy on arguing. When both of us take it lightly, we easily come up with solution!
This post sure made me smile. I totally agree w/ your first thought to burn the hose down, if something like that happened to me I might have slept in the car until the mouse was gone! This was a great story, thanks for sharing.
I am so glad you got a laugh. I didn’t think about the car!! Hmm. Next time.
Oh my goodness! I couldn’t even imagine… at rat! Yes, laughter in marriage is so important and so much better than screaming at each other. Great reminder.
Thanks for reading it!!
Grace is often something that is hard to deal with. A lot of times, when things trigger us, it’s easy to blow up and get stuck in the now. By looking at the big picture like you did, more progress resolves. Very informative post.
You are so right. Easy to blow up!! Thanks for reading.
Oh my goodness! The mouse I could probably deal with, but the rat? No way. But you are so right, laughing is so important!
The rat about threw me over. I know!!
Your post kept me glued to it till the end, I like how you explained the whole cat and rat situation, made me laugh out loud. Such an amazing message, laughter is indeed so important in marriage as well as any other relation 🙂
Thanks for the writing encouragement. Really needed that this week.
What a wonderful way to connect with your spouse — through laughter! We’ve had our ups and downs, but laughter has always brought us together again.
So glad you are together and working through things!
What a funny story. Laughter can be such a great tool in tough situations. It is definitely way easier to laugh later than in the moment, but a great reminder to laugh at and love ourselves.
Sydney Meek | meeklyloving.wordpress.com
So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!
Love this ! Laughter is definitely needed in every marriage.
Thanks for reading! Glad you laughed.
Laughter in marriage is definitely so sweet. This is a great anecdote!
Also, we have been dealing with a mouse issue lately as well and my husband gets a nice kick out of everytime I jump up on the nearest piece of furniture whatever it may be. Our cat is a big mouser and usually catches them but he’s been loungin on the heating vents all cozy lately not doing much mouse catchin. Haha.
Oh man. I’m so sorry your cat’s on vacation. That stinks. Hopefully, she’ll get enticed if one runs by!
I think I would have passed out! This made me lol.
Haha. Thanks for reading!
YES, we definitely need to find ways to laugh more, especially at difficult things! But it can be SO hard!!
So very true! Thanks for reading.
Oh my gosh this story had me cracking up! Laughter is so important in our marriage. We definitely have our blowout fights but we always end up laughing together anyway.
So glad you work things out! Thanks for reading.
I completely agree that laughter in marriage is important. It makes situations alot easier to handle.
Yes, very true. Better than yelling!
This was a hilarious story. Look now you and your hubby can continue to add this to your list of things to forever laugh at.
Oh yes, he definitely is going to laugh even more when he sees all the comments.
I would have freaked out!!! That’s such a funny story. Laughter adds so much energy and happiness into a home. Thanks for sharing!
Haha! Yeah, I had to really work on my self control. Thanks for reading!
This is a really insightful read. I am a big believer that laughter really is the best medicine! We might as well laugh right?!
Thanks for reading! Definitely need laughter in marriage!
That was such a fantastic read!!! :):):)
Thanks! Thanks for taking the time to read!
This story was so funny. I had my husband read it and we laughed hard together. The part about the Rat under the bed…hilarious! I have always wanted a cat but not after this story.
I am so glad you liked it. I still can’t believe it happened! Thanks for reading.
I have always said laughter is the key to it all! Have to have laughter in life!
So true! Thanks for reading.
We didn’t laugh that much in the beginning. We would see/so funny things and say, “that’s so funny.” But we didn’t really laugh much. When our son was born we started fake laughing to try to get him to laugh. It turned into us actually laughing and now we laugh all the time.
I’m glad you can laugh more now. Thanks for reading.
Laughter is just better regardless. It can change the mood, the level of stress, the anxiety. Fun post! Thanks for the read.
So glad you enjoyed it. Laughing does make a marriage much better.
I agree 100% with you! My husband and I agreed early on that we would never yell or curse at each other, and we’ve kept up that agreement our entire relationship and marriage. And we laugh a lot. It’s key to a happy marriage!
I’m so glad you all made that pact. Cursing is a destructive tool to destroy a marriage.
Marriage is a team sport…laughter is best even if you do want to scream!
So true. Having a happy marriage means playing as a team instead of a competitor. Most of all, I am glad the mouse and rat are gone!
LOL great post! Laughter is how my husband & I have stayed together for 20+ years. We laugh all the time people think we are NUTS but hey that’s ok. Keep LAUGHING
It keeps things light and fun. If you can’t laugh with your spouse then things are not so great.
I agree laughter is the best! Your story was too funny and we live in a cold climate the mice areally always trying to get in ugh! My husband and I always try to laugh more then we argue!
Ohh, I would be crazy with the mice all around. Glad you can laugh about things.
Laughter is such a great tool in stressful situations. My husband is admittedly, much better at handling bumps in the road than I am. He knows that I don’t handle stress well and over the years we have learned how to handle these moments with humor and a sense of “this too shall pass”. Oh and growing up in the country I could have handled a mouse in the house, but when you said RAT it was over!
Yeah, the rat got me. It was HUGE. And we live in the city, but near water. My cat brings things from blocks away. She’s crazy.
I am laughing so hard right now! The mouse story is really funny. Thanks for reminding me to chill and laugh it out. Marriage is supposed to be fun!
I am so glad you thought that was funny! Does my heart good to laugh.
bahahaha! This is awesome! I totally get it! My hubby and I have had some “mouse adventures”. Some involved laughing and some involved yelling. Laughing is a much better idea!
Yeah, it’s a toss up on which way to go with the whole mouse thing. It’s hard not to lose control.
My husband makes me laugh every day and I am so thankful for him!
We have a funny mouse story. One evening I saw a little mouse scurry across the floor. My three children were in bed and my husband was in the shower. I stood on the sofa until he got out and came downstairs. As I was telling him that there was a mouse in the house, it scurried into the dining room. He grabbed the kitchen broom with the intent of hitting and stunning it. What happened was that he chased it around the dining room table a few times! We were laughing so hard because it was so ridiculous. I finally thought to open the french door in the dining room and the mouse finally ran out!
Laughing together is always the better choice!
Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Oh, that’s good. It’s kinda funny watching the husband chase and run around the house. You have to decide it’s funny instead of screaming.
My husband regularly makes me laugh, he’s quick-witted, and I think he’s a little proud of the fact that I find him genuinely funny! He’s figured out how to use his humour to get himself out of trouble too! 🙂
My son is that way. It was hard to discipline him because I was trying not to laugh. I’m sure your hubby is a charmer.
thumbs up !! great post
Thanks for the vote!
This was so funny, I can totally relate to he in the moment you can frustrated or angry — including at the cat — but how really it is pretty funny a well.
Yes, it was a hard decision on whether I was going to lose it or not. We all have a choice every time!