The “5 to 1” Rule for a Happy, Healthy Marriage

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Now that I have been married for 7+ years, I’ve come to realize that one of the best “secrets” to a happy, healthy marriage is the “5-1 Rule” that I learned in my Marriage and Human Development class (before I was ever married).

Tips For Happy Married Life

Although I’ve titled it a “trick,” it is not a fix-all for marriages that are struggling with infidelity, addiction, and other serious things that require counseling. Those things require serious help.

This trick is for marriages where general respect exists, for people that may not always get along, but wish to have a marriage that lasts.

This ratio for healthy marriages is so accurate, that Dr. Gottman (who teaches it) has been able to predict divorce for the marriages where it does not exist. SO WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES A HEALTHY MARRIAGE???

Well the good news, is that it’s simple.

5-1 Secret for a Healthy Marriage

The Ratio is in reference to positive and negative interactions between husband and spouse. And in healthy marriages that magic ratio is 5 to 1. Meaning, for every negative interaction, there are at least 5 positive interactions between husband and wife.

And in relationships where this 5 to 1 ratio exists, the relationship is likely to to be stable.

The good news, is that a healthy marriage doesn’t mean a marriage where no arguments or disagreements exist. Far from it!

A healthy marriage is a relationship where both partners work to create positive interactions for the majority of their relationship, and keep a general feeling of respect for the times when disagreements exist. For more info on what we mean by “general respect,” see this article on fighting in marriage.


What do YOU do in your marriage to bring about more positive interactions between you and your spouse?