Regardless of the alarmingly high divorce rate (about 40% in Canada and 50% in the United States), resilient marriages do exist. Indeed, a solid partnership can relieve stress. Just ask those celebrating their 10th, 30th or 60th wedding anniversary – many will say they couldn’t have gotten through many of life’s trials and tribulations without their partner by their side.
In The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, by Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee describe factors that contribute to a successful coupleship. They interviewed 50 couples that had successful marriages for ten to 40 years. They then interviewed them again two years later.
- Be aware that when couples get into bed there are, at least, six personalities—including each person’s mother and father.
- Create a balance between me and we. He/she has problems. I definitely have problems and we have problems. “We have a problem with coming to a decision around renovating the bathroom.” Develop an attitude of being on the same team. Use words such as “we,” “our,” and “together.”
- We all need times and places where we are seen and experienced as individuals. Periodically, it is a good idea to assess our personal path, particularly at the beginning of marriage, at midlife and retirement. Then we need to check if our partner is supportive. If not, negotiation needs to take place.
- Your coupleship can be weakened by over focusing on children, pets or other relations. The coupleship needs to be valued as much as children, employment and friends.
- The couple benefits from handling stress and crisis with an attitude of “this can strengthen our commitment to one another.” Small challenges are better handled soon rather than waiting for escalation.
- The coupleship can offer a safe place for anger, expression of differences and resolving conflict. Remember that conflict is a part of most healthy relationships. Neither anger nor conflict is an indicator that the relationship is in danger of ending. Make a clear rule that there will be no verbal, emotional or physical violence involved. Decide what the topic will be. Stay focused. Do not argue about aspects that cannot be changed.
- Keep the bedroom clean and joyful. Create a sexual relationship free of previous relationships and hang-ups.
- Inject humor and fun into your relationship to relieve boredom or taking one another for granted.
- Pay attention. Listen first and then be heard. Encourage and celebrate one another.
- Keep romance alive. Bless your relationship with appreciation as often as possible.
What are your ideas for a good marriage to add to the good advise found in The Good Marriage?
Please check out these related posts:
Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.