March 10, 2014— -- Newlyweds looking to build a lasting foundation, take note: A new survey reveals that the secret to a happy marriage is not just one thing, but possibly six.
After interviewing 10,000 couples in 110 countries around the world, bestselling author of "Happy Wives Club" Fawn Weaver has identified six practices that happy partners have in common. Some you might not expect.
6. Put Marriage Before Children
"This is controversial but it was a common denominator among these couples," said Weaver. "According to them, it was just common sense," adding that as children leave for college and to begin a family of their own, parents risk being left with an emptied nest akin to "an overdrawn bank account." READ: How To Make Room for a New Mother-in-Law
5. If the Bond is Solid, Sex will Follow
According to Weaver, the topic of sex only came up once in passing during her myriad interviews with international couples. "We place a lot of stock in this one thing but these couples made it clear if you take care of the relationship, this will take care of itself," she said. READ: Longest Married Couple in the U.S. Celebrates 81st Anniversary
4. Spirituality Can Be a Stabilizer
While, "the couples may not have all agreed on who or what they believe God to be, all believed in a higher power," said Weaver. "They had a healthy fear of disappointing that higher power in relation to their spouses." Similarly, a 2001 report in the Journal of Family Psychology found that in 120 couples studied, celebrating religious holidays together had helped to cement and re-establish their beliefs over the years and further bonded their marriages. READ: Saving Marriage Through Science
3. Rituals Enhance Romance
From coffee together in the morning to a cocktail every night before dinner, each of the couples interviewed maintained a ritual for decades. "[This is] something that is just for the two of them and they maintain it every day," said Weaver. READ: You May Now Get High With the Bride
2. Divorce is Not an Option
Or, as Weaver puts it, "there was no Plan B. Each couple decided at the outset that they would subtract divorce from the equation," she said. "This led to a much greater level of patience with each other." READ: 4 Conflict Styles That Save--or Sabotage-- Marriages
1. Aretha Had it Right
The number one answer to a happy marriage, according to Weaver's survey, is "mutual respect," she said. Sometimes that respect can even extend to the need to sleep in separate beds.