How They
Make It Work

21 Habits of a Successful Marriage
Written by Ed Wimberly, PhD

New Release

Throughout the course of my 45 years in private practice, I have at times wondered how it is that some couples do so well beyond therapy and on their own to improve and progress, while others who initially improve through the counseling process seem to fall back into many of their old and self-defeating habits.

It took me a while but I now understand that often, those couples who fall back into their old destructive habits usually do so because they neglect to replace them with new and productive ones. Removing dysfunctional habits must be followed by developing new and healthy habits. How They Make it Work addresses 21 new habits I have consistently observed through follow-up contacts that seem to help couples continue to thrive and to grow on their own beyond professional intervention.

At the end of each of the 21 chapters are several questions designed to help you process together the new habits that are being suggested here. Since they have worked for others, there is more than a good chance they will work for you.


Habit #1. Couples in a healthy marriage ask the question “Does it really matter?” before reacting.

Habit #2. They avoid grudges by keeping short accounts

Habit #3. They are willing to say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

Habit #4. They understand the importance of forgiving.

Habit #5. They appreciate their personality differences.

Habit #6. They laugh often, and even at themselves.

Habit #7. They risk being vulnerable with each other.

Habit #8. They avoid competing for the good times.

Habit #9. They check out their assumptions before acting on them.

Habit #10. They have learned there is no room for, “good guy-bad guy”.

Habit #11. They want to solve the problem rather than win the battle

Habit #12. They treat each other as if today were their last.

Habit #13. They are aware of the baggage they bring into the relationship.

Habit #14. They consider putting their spouse’s needs ahead of their own.

Habit #15. They look for the opportunity to brag just a bit about their spouse.

Habit #16. They make it a priority to have fun together.

Habit #17. They hear the heart of the other, not just their words.

Habit #18. They know when to be the president and when to be the vice-president.

Habit #19. They reject the notion that it is either control or be controlled.

Habit #20. They recognize the importance of appreciating each other.

Habit #21. They work to keep the passion alive in their marriage.

“Dr. Wimberly’s book was thought provoking, straight forward and easy to apply in our effort to build a healthier, more successful marriage.”

Barbie Krabacher, early childhood educator

“Rich in wisdom and helpful insights from an experienced therapist”

Gordon Hess, Ph.D., retired therapist

“A straight forward guide to helping and healing any relationship. If you want to love and be loved in your relationship, here is a compass to help find your way”.

Noah BenShea, international best selling author, philosopher and speaker.

“More than just a list of ideas to make a marriage better. Ed’s book tackles the tough and underlying issues that can sabotage a relationship.”

B. Kirkpatrick, author of “Hard Left” and “The Resurrection of Johnny Roe”.

“Dr. Wimberly has with wisdom, humor and common sense, translated psychological principles into a highly useful guide for couples who want to improve their relationship”.

Dr. James Hilkey, forensic psychologist.

Get In Touch

Feel free to give any feedback or comments you’d like as well as insights that have been helpful to you in your marriage. Keep making new and improved habits!