Looking for marriage advice? Thinking thoughts like, "How can I save my marriage?
Having a successful, fulfilling marriage takes something from each person in the relationship. Over the years doing this work and experience in my own marriage, I believe success comes down to essentially these five pieces of advice:
Save My Marriage Tip #1: Commitment
This is probably the most essential in any relationship you want to last for a life time. Because the truth is that over time, the intensity and the passion softens and sometimes your marriage just isn't that fun or rewarding. This can be due to life stress or changes one or both of you are going through. Many couples I see don't feel like they're "in love" any more or feel disconnected. This is fairly normal in most long term relationships. If you interview people who have been married for 40 years, most will say that things weren't always smooth. There's really no way around it: Making a marriage last really comes down to making an overarching commitment to the marriage as a whole and doing what it takes to make it work.
Save My Marriage Tip #2: Emotional Maturity & Personal Growth
Essentially what this marriage advice means is each person in the relationship is willing to grow in their ability to give to the other and to recognize each other's needs. Each person is also willing to take on their own personal growth or develop a larger purpose for their life. Growth can be done in small or big ways but overall it means each person strives toward making their own personal lives healthy and fulfilling. The healthier you are as an individual, the more a contribution you are to the partnership.
Save My Marriage Tip #3: Choose to Move Toward Not Away
This is marriage advice from researcher John Gottman in his work on what determines marital success. Moving towards each other, not away during or after arguments (and in general) is key to repairing the relationship and solving problems. What I often see with couples is that they withdraw from each other when they're upset, develop patterns of not sharing inner thoughts and feelings or start to lead separate lives when they feel disconnected. Moving toward each other might be as simple as making sure you greet each other with a kiss/hug at the end of the day or laughing together at the end of an argument. It also means you are actively noticing times when you're disconnected and doing something about it (like, "Hey babe..it seems like we've had no time together and I'm feeling kind of distant. Can we spend time together this weekend?). It also means that when you're upset with your partner, that your mind is working on reconnecting or repairing not building evidence against them!
Check out my article on exactly HOW to do this! What to Do With Anger During Arguments
Save My Marriage Tip #4: Be 100% responsible for your words, actions and thoughts about your spouse/marriage
There's a myth out there that marriage is 50/50. But, the truth is, as anyone who's been marriage long enough can attest, it's rarely ever 50/50. Sometimes over the years, one makes more money and does most of the housework. Sometimes when someone gets sick or is trying to advance their career or education, the other person picks up all the slack for childcare and running errands. This is what love and emotional maturity is all about. Heed this marriage advice: Being 100% responsible means that you are fully responsible to your partner (not necessarily for them)and responsible for how and who you are being in the marriage. It means that you are fully taking care of your marriage with your words said to your spouse or about your marriage to others. This means managing your negative thoughts when you're angry. It means that you actually have to stop blaming each other and start being willing to give up being "right" for the sake of the partnership. And it most certainly means being responsible for your actions by being faithful, loving and and a true friend to each other.
Save My Marriage Tip #5: Recognize that you both have valid points of view that are just different
This piece of marriage advice might seem obvious but most of the time, most of us operate like we speak and think the "truth" about things. We assume our point of view about the world is more valid or "true" than others. Most of us would agree that arguments stem from differing points of view, but arguments persist because we don't acknowledge that the other person has an equally valid point of view. It's what some marriage researchers call, "binocular vision"-- holding your point of view and your partner's point of view at the same time. This takes emotional maturity and it sure isn't easy when we're feeling hurt or angry.
For a few minutes, write out your partner's point of view about how you are being in this relationship. Let go of who's right or wrong for the moment (You can always be right in a few minutes from now!); just simply write down his or her point of view as if you were trying to get an "A" from your teacher on how exact it is. Now sit with this for a few minutes and notice how you feel. Allow yourself to try on your partner's point of view as if it were a hat you can take off. But see if you can comfortably wear it for a while.
Want Even More Marriage Advice Tips for Your Relationship?
I highly recommend this e-book, Save the Marriage. It has great marriage advice and breaks downs common relationship dynamics. The book teaches you how to sidestep marriage pitfalls and really get your relationship back on track. The author is an experienced marriage and family therapist. Download your copy today!
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