7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Or 7 secrets to a happy relationship, married or not.

Dawn and Jo Fry at the church with the vicar on their wedding day

I wasn’t at all bothered about getting married, but my hubby really wanted to, so we did. Surprisingly, it made a difference. Nothing earth-shattering, but a subtle difference, a proper full-on commitment. I loved having a ‘hubby’ – not just the label of course! We celebrated 27 years together this June.

Honestly, Bridget Jones, this is not me trying to be a ‘smug married’!

7 secrets to a happy marriage are meant to be a bit of fun, as well as a nod to some of the serious sauce!


How do you meet the perfect partner? In our case, we had a dear friend do a bit of matchmaking. We had both been around the block a little, past experience definitely shaped decisions and for us, the timing was right.
Fundamentally there has to be a willingness for a relationship from both partners and a desire to make it work if possible.

Then add in a dollop of luck.

Pick a practical one

My hubby can turn his hand to literally anything practical. I may have had to develop a patient approach to some jobs as they can (and do) take years to complete. Knowing that something can be made, fixed or mended is such a comfort.
If you can’t find a practical one (and it’s not going to be you) then make sure you have contacts and funds to get someone in or it will drive you mad.

Play to your strengths

Divvy up the jobs depending on who is best at them. Hope that it’s a roughly fair split, if not a bit of negotiation may be required, or if possible, buy in some outside help perhaps.

Don’t hate me too much, but my hubby loves housework, especially vacuuming, and keeping the house nice and clean. I hate it, so that’s a huge win/win! Cooking is my thing, so I will usually do all the shopping and meal planning. Some jobs we share.

As a born organiser I run all household management and the admin for our businesses. Even persuaded hubby to take up teaching blacksmithing courses after the success of running chocolate ones! I find this easy, and hubby hates it! Social secretary and especially travel agent are my favourite roles.

You can’t change anyone. Don’t expect your partner to get good at something they don’t like or find difficult to do. The only thing you can change is you.

It’s good to talk

espresso coffee in blue cup with biscuit and sugar cubes

It’s so easy, especially if you have been together for a long time, have very young children, are coping with teenagers, busy jobs, and other commitments, to stop talking properly to each other. There is so often a presumption about what your partner is thinking or feeling, without actually talking to each other properly to find out.

We try and keep a day in the week where we do something together – it’s often just a dog walk, but it may be something more exciting now and again!

Make time to talk – whether that be a date night or something simple like going out for coffee or a walk.


Without respect surely any relationship is doomed. Mutual respect is a must, and if that is missing or lost – do all you can to try and find it again.

If you are not respecting yourself then start there. Maybe you need a change and it’s time to focus on doing something different, sparking yourself back to life?

Shared Dreams

No two people can be on the same page all the time. Marriage is a compromise, but we can’t only live someone else’s dream. What are yours?

Then you can work on what you both want. What does the future hold (if we are lucky enough to have one)? It can be exciting, having a shared dream focuses your intentions as it’s something to work towards. Nothing is set in stone either, so you have a chance to change/enhance and improve any plans you make.

Book that date night, get talking and discuss your shared visions and dreams for the future.

The Duvet

Get your own. Seriously, we each have our own duvet and it’s perfect. Two single duvets on our double bed. No one loses the covers and gets cold. Choose a different tog that suits (I’m always too hot, hubby too cold).

Finished with my absolute top tip for marital bliss – a good night’s sleep with your own duvet!

What I learned from saying YES

What I learned from saying YES

Not long along I gave you 5 reasons to say NO, and here I am encouraging you to say YES!

Confusing, maybe? The thing is both are valid, and it will be about building confidence in your decision-making.  

Firstly, having a clear ‘why’ will matter the most, as that helps you decide if it’s worth your time or effort. Are you someone who gets a gut feeling about things? If you are, trust yourself and act accordingly. Sleep on something rather than make a snap decision and see what comes up the next day. Write out a list of pros and cons and make a proper evaluation.

Sometimes you just need to have a go – here’s what I learned from saying YES:

Grow your Confidence

I can't written on a piece of paper with someone cutting off the 't to read I can.

An opportunity presents itself and you immediately say no. That’s it, opportunity over, do you ever examine why that was your response?  

Are you scared of change?  

Do you find it easier to stay within what you know, and prefer never to challenge yourself?  

Many of us do prefer to play safe but say YES once in a while and you will be forced out of your comfort zone. We all know that’s where the magic really happens. 

In a toilet in a bar in Shoreditch the wallpaper read “your comfort zone will kill you” and while that’s a bit dramatic, there’s a lot of truth in that. You will find it does amazing things for your confidence in the end.

Hidden Opportunities

Once upon a time, there was a blog about sheds. I tweeted the guy responsible and told him I made chocolates in my shed, so what was the most interesting thing he’d discovered people doing in their sheds? He said I was pretty interesting and did I want to be featured on his blog. Yes please, I said!

Large shed in the garden with the double doors open

 A few weeks later I was contacted by The Sun newspaper and formed part of an article on what business people did in their sheds (they had seen my feature on the Shed Blog). Some months after that I was contacted by The Independent on Sunday and had a full-page feature on my shed for a gardening article.  

I also won an iPad for a social media competition using this story and of course gained credibility and awareness for my business.  

You will find a way

Someone makes a proposal to you. At the time of speaking to them, you don’t know how you are going to deliver what they are asking of you. If the answer is no, it’s job done, no further thought is required. Say yes and then your brain needs to work out a way.

It may be you need to have a conversation with someone who does know a way. They may be able to help, or certainly point you to where to find out more. A bit of research is undertaken. Sometimes it’s as simple and sleeping on it and in the morning you have a solution! Once you have said yes to something then you will find a solution – even if it’s not quite what was asked for in the first place!

New Possibilities

People at the forge.  Once hammering on an anvil and one in the fire on a team day experience

You simply can’t think of everything, even if you thought you have covered off all bases in whatever context that might be. I guarantee someone will ask you something that you had not considered. Is that a better option for you? Might it be something worth exploring further, a new avenue or offering?

When I started my chocolate business, I always intended to offer workshops to adults and children

I still do that to this day, but my events have evolved so much over the years. I’ve added in workshops specific to hens, schools, teams, customer service, running a business, and collaborations with my blacksmith hubby. Usually, because I’ve been asked by a customer to deliver a specific theme.   

Shiny new object syndrome is a real thing – you can end up going down the wrong path from time to time, but being open to explore new possibilities is worth consideration at least.

Good Vibes

Being willing to consider ideas, saying yes to opportunities creates a can-do positive attitude to life in general. I think that’s a really good thing.

What are you going to say YES to? Come and tell us your story.