Hi, this was circulated in an email newsletter and I found it helpful. Maybe some of you will, too.
7 KEYS to A HAPPY MARRIAGE
“The key to happiness isn’t finding the right mate; it’s being the right mate.”anonymousWith the divorce rate for first marriages hovering around 50% (and slightly higher for second marriages), people often ask psychotherapists why some marriages work and others don’t.Factors contributing to the demise of a marriage are easy to spot: financial difficulty, meddling in-laws, an affair, intrusive career demands, boredom, constant bickering, to name a few.Identifying what makes marriages work well is more difficult.Here are 7 recommendations which may not guarantee happiness, but they will help keep the marriage on an even keel.
#1Assume personal responsibility: When a problem arises, don’t through your hands up in the air and immediately blame your spouse.A problem is never only one person’s fault.Both partners contribute in some way.Ask yourself what you can do to fix the problem.
#2Accept each other’s shortcomings:
Both of you bring strengths and weaknesses to the marriage.None of us is perfect, so why expect our spouse to be.Recall what attracted you to your spouse in the first place and try to focus on those qualities when you notice their weaknesses.
#3Don’t shy away from disagreement:
Being in love doesn’t mean always agreeing.Disagreement is part of every relationship and can be a source of marital growth.Think of dispute resolution as a form of problem solving.Sweeping problems under the rug doesn’t solve them, it merely postpones dealing with them.
#4Express painful feelings behind your anger:
Painful feelings like hurt, fear and neglect often are behind the anger and resentment which are front and center in an argument.Learn to express your painful feelings assertively using “I statements” rather than aggressively using “You statements” which feel like finger pointing and put your spouse on the defensive. #5Don’t take understanding for granted:
Couples often assume that if their partner really loves them, he/she will intuitively understand what they want and need.Ask for what you want and ask your spouse to tell you what he/she wants and needs from you.#6Maintain a balance of power in the marriage:Each partner needs a sense of personal authority, power and importance.A healthy marital relationship allows each of you to feel connected emotionally to the other; but, at the same time, to feel a sense of personal autonomy.#7The 3 C’s:Couples I work with often ask me what the most important elements of a good marriage are.My reply is always the same:
COMMUNICATIONCOMMUNICATIONCOMMUNICATIONGood marriages don’t just happen, they’re built over time.Caring, loving relationships require an ongoing investment of time, effort and emotional energy from ourself as well as our partner.As the Persian poet Ovid wrote long ago: “To be loved, be lovable.”
I see so many couples have problems because one or both of them behave selfishly; their main or only concern is themselves. There's too much "I want things MY way" and anything else is unacceptable. Honestly, I see this more from women. They think they should be treated like a princess without doing anything to reciprocate. Or they have a grave misunderstanding of "equality".