happy couple on wedding day

Sure, anyone can be happy when wedding cake is nearby, but what of all the days that follow?

© iStockphoto.com/Csondy

Comedian Henny Youngman made a successful career out of his one-liners about marriage and his wife. "I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back," he quipped. "I miss my wife's cooking -- as often as I can," he said another time. He became famous for the line "Take my wife -- please!" While on stage, Youngman played the part of a long-suffering husband saddled with a particularly heavy ball and chain, but offstage, he was happily devoted to his wife of 58 years.

Clearly, Mrs. Youngman had a good sense of humor, a trait that many people say is important for a successful marriage. Others believe forgiveness, compromise and patience are the keys to success, while just as many people will throw around ideas like "Never go to bed angry." Some seek guidance from the church on their marriage, while others just turn on Oprah or Dr. Phil. We'd all like to know how to avoid becoming part of the staggering divorce rate.

Henny Youngman once said, "The secret to a happy marriage is still a secret." Each marriage is a unique situation, and no one set of rules will apply to everyone. A successful marriage in some ways is a series of negotiations and experiments designed to find the secret formula that will work for you and your spouse. While we can't give you the precise ingredients for your own happily ever after, we do have a few tricks that serve as a reliable foundation for any couple.