Have you ever wondered why some marriages last decades while others barely go two years? Why do some couples thrive and grow together while others crash and burn?
The secret? There are three secrets, actually; three ingredients to a happy and successful marriage. Without all three of these, many couples will struggle to remain connected and committed.
Communication is to a marriage what gasoline is to an automobile: without it, you’re not going anywhere. And the better the communication, the longer the “motor” will last.
The words we choose to connect with others are incredibly important. Use the right ones and you generate feelings of love, safety, and security. Use the wrong ones and your partner is apt to feel anger and resentment.
It is often said that HOW you say something is as important as WHAT you say, and in many ways, this is true. When you ask your spouse a question, is their answer thoughtful or dismissive? Do they say, “Yes, that sounds like a great plan,” or “Whatever?” Both are affirmative, but only the first sentence is positive and respectful.
But perhaps the most important factor of good communication is listening. Many marriages have been improved when one or more people learn how to be a good listener.
How exactly do you become a good listener? Two ways: Start caring more about your partner – when you care for someone, you are truly interested in what they have to say. Second, when they are speaking, don’t think about other things – don’t think about your day or what you’d like to have for dinner – don’t even think about how you’d like to respond to what your partner is saying, simply LISTEN to them. Give them your full attention.
The better listeners and communicators you both are, the better partners you can be to each other.
Know Yourself and Your Partner
The sad fact is, most people spend more time trying to understand how their smartphone or tablet works than how their own personality – or that of their partner -works. We’re all individuals with unique quirks and behaviors. The more we understand about ourselves and our spouse, the less conflict we’ll experience.
Put Each Other First
Happy and successful marriages are the ones where each person is putting their partner’s needs first. When both are doing this, all needs are being met. Problems arise when only one individual meets their partner’s needs. When this happens, one person is happy, the other is left out in the cold.
If, after reading this, you have become aware that your marriage is missing some of these critical ingredients, don’t be afraid to seek help from a therapist. Sometimes an impartial third party can help both individuals get their priorities straight.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.