How to Make Your Marriage More Successful…Top 10 Tips!
You may have started off completely enraptured with each other but, as we all know, the chemistry settles down and the business of life takes over. Some of the fundamentals may have been forgotten or perhaps never integrated into your marriage in the first place.
The idea that each of you knows your role in the marriage is the actual business structure of the relationship. As long as each of you does your job there should be no problem. What typically happens however is that in many marriages, spouses begin taking each other for granted.
Partners are working to earn money to contribute to the marriage as well as taking part in raising the kids and the marriage gets strained by the stress of it all. Couples, especially if they have had a falling out or two, start to feel tense with each other.
If the tension continues to grow without some attempt at reining it in, the emotional fabric of the marriage, that which has been holding it together, may begin to tear. This often happens slowly, so much so that it typically goes unnoticed for a while.
You and your spouse may start to feel disconnected, have sex less frequently (or not at all) and engage in regular bickering or angry arguments. (See my post on how to improve your sex life).
Top 10 Tips For a More Successful Marriage
1) Clarify your expectations. Spouses will often make the mistake of secretly expecting something they want without being clear and then faulting their partner for not giving it to them. Expectations of each other are frequently assumed but not always clarified and understood. You may hope your spouse will give you what you want but unless you have communicated those desires you bear some responsibility if you are disappointed when you don’t get what you want.
2) Promote dialogue and appreciation. In the busy world of working, paying bills and caring for children, the sweetest part of the marriage, the connection between spouses (both emotional and physical) sometimes gets lost. Promoting dialogue and good communication means exchange, discussion and real conversation between partners. For this to be effective each partner needs to listen attentively, speak without threatening and whenever possible, emphasize the positive while showing appreciation.
3) Be clear if you have a complaint. If you are not sure about what you want from your partner, get clear before you bring it up. If you are dissatisfied and want things to get better then it is your responsibility to identify the issue(s) so that you can talk about it. If you are going through a personal struggle that is not necessarily due to your marriage, let your partner know about it so that they don’t feel left out of your life.
4) Be considerate and thankful. This is a “no-brainer”! Being accommodating, attentive, patient and thoughtful goes a long way in creating a loving atmosphere where each partner is getting their needs met. It is not always easy to be considerate but the benefits are great. Thanking your spouse for the little things shows that you are not taking them for granted.
5) Be tolerant. If you are difficult to get along with and have been getting worse over time, learn some tolerance quickly! Tolerance falls into the category of forgiveness and benevolence. Being tolerant of others is an admirable attribute that works well in a relationship. Being tolerant in your marriage means that when your partner makes an innocent mistake you are able to see it as a small thing and move on without causing conflict.
6) Take responsibility. When a couple is not getting along there will often be a lot of pointing fingers and blaming. Be ready to accept your end of any situation. Be careful because the first tendency you will have is to defend yourself…don’t! If you want harmony in your relationship, learn to take responsibility for your contribution to the problem.
7) Agree to disagree. Couples will often fall into the trap of thinking there has to be a resolution to every argument or disagreement. Wrong! One partner can respectfully disagree with the other. If an issue demands that there be a decision made then some form of negotiation should be entered into. You may need some outside help if there is a deadlock.
8) Show affection. Let’s face it, everybody wants to be loved. Affection comes in all forms. Say nice things to each other, smile, touch, kiss, do something your partner likes, buy a small present or send a card. It feels good when someone you care about shows they care about you.
9) Employ humor. When people are dating they laugh, carry on and have fun with each other. Somehow during marriage the weight of everyday life gets in the way of enjoying each others’ company. If you have lost your sense of humor…try finding it again! Don’t let yourself get too serious…it tends to dull the relationship.
10) Don’t say everything! I am not suggesting you be dishonest. I am only saying here that it is sometimes wiser to examine what you are about to say for the effect it might have on your partner. Simply blurting something out because you are anxious, angry or feeling guilty without thinking about the consequences may not be in the best interest of your relationship at that moment. Learn to tolerate your own impulse to just say what’s on your mind, especially if you have a tendency to be critical.
If you are not already employing these strategies I strongly suggest that you begin to do so immediately. If you are already doing most of these things I congratulate you!
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.