My Secrets To Building A 30 Year-long Happy Marriage

Sign Up For Weekly Tips! Get Trevor’s Weekly Tips Straight To Your Inbox!

My Secrets to Building a 30 Year Long Happy Marriage.

Okay, I started dating my (now) wife in 1991.  January.  In Edmonton.  30 years ago.

I remember the squeak of our boots on the snow walking to Rundle Park for outdoor skating.  And seeing the beauty of the ice-cold river valley as I went to visit her at her downtown apartment.  And all the memories associated with snow and prairie and the 90’s music of the time.

I remember the 800 volts of electricity that went through my arm the first time we held hands after umpteen dates (I’m not a huge playa 😊).  And the long talks on the (corded) phone until late at night.

Quick aside:  One time I rode my motorbike to her place in the fall.  We watched a movie, and when I went to go home, I discovered it had snowed.

So, I rode my sport bike home (30 minutes, much of it highway) in the snow, which is both interesting and educational if you’re a student of defensive motorcycling skills.  I made it btw!

We married after dating for 2 ish years.  And because we never lived together prior to dating, actually setting up house together was something of a shock.  Because we have different DISC scores.  She is a microbe hunter, and I have an unusually high tolerance for bacteria of all kinds.  Live and let live I say.  She doesn’t roll that way!

BTW, if you don’t know each other’s DISC personality scores, do yourselves a favour and find them out here for free:

If you already know your DISC results, I’ve designed a new one page cheat sheet that sums up the entire DISC Personalities system on a single page.  Download it for free here:

We’ve had incredible joy and sorrow and hard times too.  But we’re happy together, and that’s what I hope for you too.  A happy relationship that endures over time.  So here are a few random pieces of advice.

Cluck twice with your tongue if the other person is snoring

Discuss it beforehand.  Then when snoring happens, give two loud clucks and your partner will turn over without really waking up, and without you having to say something or nudge them.  It works.  You read it here first.

Never go to bed with unresolved anger

It’s fine to be mad at each other.  But when anger stretches from one day into the next, it’s a problem.  Because that anger can extend to a third day and beyond.  And when you get to the stage where you’re saying, ‘forget it, just move on,’ you’re in an unhealthy place.  My advice is to stay up, however late and work it out.  Get past it!  A happy marriage is more important than a good night’s sleep.

Develop hand signals to communicate in public

We have hand signals that we use in public places.  That way we don’t have to discuss how to handle things in front of other people. These signals include messages like:

  • I love you
  • Time to leave, I’m ready to go anytime now
  • Marriage related messages I’m not prepared to reveal in print. Make up your own!  No G rating required!  You’re married!

We both live public lives and have a protocol for how to handle introductions to people whose names we can’t remember (Say, “This is my wife, Jenn” and stop.  She then knows to say, “And you are?”  BAM!  Suck it Dale Carnegie!)

Establish your happy marriage conflict rules

We’re both natural born pugilists, so neither of us has ever really shied away from a fight in our lives.  But there are things that are okay to do in a fight/conflict, and things that are definitely not okay.  Here are some of our rules:


  • Nothing physical (obviously). No shoving, pushing, or God forbid, hitting.  Not on the menu, ever once in 30 years.
  • No name calling or belittling. Doesn’t help.  It’s silly and simply entrenches each person in their initial positions.  And it’s just stupid and dumb and wrong besides.
  • No yelling or throwing things.  Why break our own stuff?  What world does this make sense in?  Heated emotions are ok.
  • Can’t go to bed mad


  • Take a cooling off period. This might be an hour or more.  Get to a place where you can discuss things without emotions taking over.  Understand that it’s okay to say, ‘I’m not ready to talk about this yet.  Give me an hour or two.”
  • No sacred cows. Anything can be discussed.  If there are issues in your marriage that can’t be talked about, I think of it as a part of your body that’s not working.  If you can’t discuss money, you have a withered hand.  Why not have a whole, healthy body?  Why not have a happy marriage?
  • Make every effort to fully understand things from your spouse’s point of view.

Look to where your partner is strong

It’s easy to find each other’s weaknesses.  They’re obvious, and the longer you live together, the more apparent they become.  So, you have a choice:  will you focus on those weaknesses, and become impatient and upset, or will you choose to focus on their amazing strengths and encourage them to become the best person they can possibly be?

The more you focus on how you can be a great spouse, the happier your marriage will be.

 Put your moods on the shelf

Don’t feel in the mood to talk after a long day at work?  Who cares if you’re in the mood.  Talk.  Do what’s going to make your marriage better because it matters to your spouse.

Don’t feel in the mood for sex?  Do it anyway.  It will enhance your marriage, and everyone will be happier.

Don’t feel in the mood to do yard work on Saturday?  Go out to dinner on a Friday night?  Do you want a happy marriage, or do you want to zone out in front of Netflix?  You get the idea.  Do what you need to do to get in the mood!  Act your way into the feeling.

Make the decision that your marriage IS GOING TO WORK

We’ve never ever discussed divorce, although both of us have fantasized about murder a few times over.  We just decided from the start that we were going to make it and have a happy marriage.

The battle is won before the battle has begun.  If your view of marriage is that you’ll see how the other person does meeting your needs and then re-evaluate based on performance, you may not do well.

But if you decide beforehand that it’s going to work and you’re going to deal with the inevitable storms that come your way, and you’re going to get good at forgiving and asking forgiveness, and you’re just going to see it through, you’ll make it.

That’s assuming of course that you picked a good partner from the beginning.

I could go on for a long time.

But I’d love to hear your relationship advice on how to have a happy marriage in the comments below,

Your personal life and your professional life are the same life!  Make both work!

Jenn headshot taken by Sam in black

Jenn, my amazing partner through life of 3o years!

Complete your free DISC profile, download your results, and discuss your similarities and differences over dinner out.  Find it here:

Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.
Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.