How miserable would it be married to someone without the capacity to communicate?

Coupling is not only a main source of happiness or misery for married adults. Coupling is also a skill-based activity with universal truths about how to succeed with lifelong intimacy.

Marital success is based on the capacity to communicate with a partner about tough issues, as well as happy thoughts and events.   There are truthful universal phenomena for people in our world regardless of their climate, language, or level of sophistication?  The capacity to communicate with each other and oneself enables couples to rejoice in happy times, and get through the inevitable toughness life can bring.

Research tells us that there are about 12 phenomena that are true across the world for people who couple. These issues include housing, children, hunger management, intimacy, sex, illness, death, money, spirituality, occupation, and happiness - to name a few.

Long-term couples worldwide need to master similar skills that are practiced differently in other countries. While this is challenging, it is more challenging to attempt building a lasting foundation for a family moving forward in time.  It takes skill to build a solid foundation of practices that happy partners have in common with each other in 110 countries.

Fawn Weaver has interviewed couples, and claims to have identified six practices that happy partners share. Some, you might not expect, you may not agree with, but they are thought-provoking.

Put Marriage Before Other Concerns: Weaver found that as children left the family for independence, the couple needed closeness with each other, making the couple the primary unit in the marriage. "This is controversial, but it was a common denominator among these couples," said Weaver.

Spirituality Can be a Stabilizer: Weaver’s couples believed in a higher power. In my practice, spirituality extends beyond religion but can include it. Mutual respect and honoring the unspoken bond of physical closeness is a powerful stabilizer.

Rituals Enhance Ongoing Romance: Some couples have morning coffee together, while others watch a video series during evenings. Many couples maintain habits for decades that imply feeling close to each other. "This is something that is just for the two of them," said Weaver.

Divorce is “Not” an Option: Each couple decided at the outset that they would subtract divorce from the equation," Weaver said. "In my practice, couples do not refuse to divorce, but instead build the strength that this would feel tragic for them."

Mutual Respect Is Top-Dog: The best answer to a happy marriage, according to Weaver's survey, is "mutual respect." I agree, and in my practice, telling your partner how much you admire and respect them is key to keeping the marriage whole.

For many of us, marriage becomes an art form. We learn how to master the skills to appreciate and enjoy what intimate partnership with a mate brings to our lives.

Research validates that couples across the world require similar needs to be met - but why?

Despite our individual differences, we are human at the core. As you contemplate your future, I encourage you to make room for learning and practicing the skills of coupling. You’ll be thankful you did.

To Consider: As you read the six ways partners keep a marriage strong, how do you fare?

What might happen if you put mutual respect at the top of your list, decided divorce was not happening, held your marriage in highest regard, insured that you both felt sexual pleasure from your love, considered the magical spirit of the love you have for each other, added regular ways of enjoying each other that signify your marriage, and spoke freely to your partner about what you love about them?

Might you be happier? If so, try it.

To Explore: Fawn Weaver. Happy Wives Club. New York, 2014: Thomas Nelson.

ED. NOTE: Dr. Coche practices clinical psychology in Stone Harbor and Philadelphia. She invites responses through her website, www.cochecenter.com