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One Thing You Need to Know When Creating Happiness in Marriage

One Thing You Need to Know When Creating Happiness in Marriage

Happy Tuesday!  Today, we’re continuing our fabulous, Making Happy, 5-day marriage series based on the book of #1 New York Times® best-selling authors, Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.

I just read the post they sent us for tomorrow and it’s just as good as this one.  I sure hope you’re enjoying this series!

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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We had just finished speaking at a camp in the San Juan Islands when a small plane buzzed overhead and landed on a nearby airstrip.

A few minutes later the pilot was flying us over the islands of Puget Sound and we were approaching the lights of a local airport.

“The most important thing about landing is the attitude of the plane,” said the pilot.

“You mean altitude, don’t you?” we asked.

“No,” the pilot explained. “The attitude has to do with the nose of the plane. If the attitude is too high the plane will come down with a severe bounce. And if the attitude is too low the plane may go out of control.”

Then the pilot said something that really got our attention:

“The trick is to get the right attitude in spite of atmospheric conditions.”

Without knowing it, our pilot had given us a perfect analogy for creating happiness in marriage — developing the right attitude in spite of our circumstances.

In fact, while we were writing our new book, Making Happy: The Art and Science of a Happy Marriage, the most amazing fact we learned about happiness in marriage – the one that has impacted our own marriage more than any other – is this:

Only 10% of a person’s happiness has to do with their circumstances.

That’s all. Just 10%!

We all think we’ll be happier if we get a better job, more money, a nicer home, cool vacations, and all the rest. But that’s not where our happiness is found.

The majority of our happiness has little to do with circumstances and far more to do with deciding to be happy in spite of our circumstances.

It’s what Abe Lincoln was getting at when he said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

So true.

It is no accident that some couples that encounter marital turbulence navigate it successfully while others in similar circumstances are dominated by frustration, disappointment and eventual despair.

And it is no accident that some couples are positive and happy while other couples are beaten down and defeated.

Researchers who have searched for the difference between the two have come up with all kinds of correlates to marital success. They point to long courtships, having similar backgrounds, supportive families, good communication, and so on.

But the bottom line is that happy couples decide to be happy.

In spite of whatever life deals them, they make happiness a habit.

YOUR TURN:  How do you make happiness a habit in your marriage? Tell us in the comment section below.


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Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott are #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, Love Talk, Crazy Good Sex, and Making Happy. The Parrotts speak in more than thirty cities annually and they blog about marriage at

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