TEN REALLY GOOD IDEAS FOR CREATING A HEALTHY MARRIAGE
1. Make assumptions a question rather than a statement. Even if you think you know how he/she feels, check it out. Rather than saying, “I know you resent the fact that I’m going back to school” make it a question. Not only are you going to know your partner better, but it also creates space for a safe discussion about the topic.
2. It is said that all criticism of the other is a form of self-abuse….for two reasons. That which we criticize is a reflection o f part in ourselves we fear or do not like. For example, although you may be thin, you criticize fat men/women because of the pain that obesity in family members may have caused while you were growing up…..you don’t have to be fat, yourself. Secondly, when you attack a problem by criticizing you rarely get what you want but rather the defenses of the one criticized. Rather than criticize, examine what it is that that mirror is hold up for you and heal that. Then, if helpful, offer positive suggestions or, better yet, lead by example.
3. When the excitement wears off embrace the ordinary. day to day stuff of relationship. Long term relationships have a lots less fireworks and a lot more quiet “memory moments”… but you must be awake to them.
4. Creating drama may have some ulterior motive. Fights can be a way to avoid intimacy by building walls of defensiveness. Fights also provide a way to exit the deeper issues and problems that are threatening to a marriage. And finally, fights that are followed up by “make-up sex” can keep the intimacy on a superficial level. Be aware of the underpinnings of fights, the timing and the usual outcome. Your fights may not be what you think you’re fighting about.
5. Give up on expectations and create agreements instead. That means you have to talk about what it is you want or need to feel safe/loved/wanted/important/sexy/fairly treated/etc. And then you have to tell your partner what that looks like in a PMS sort of way. That would be positive (not a don’t), measurable (how you know it is happening) and specific (vagueness sets one up for failure). And then you have to get agreement. Know you may not always get everything you want.
6. Self-love and feeling secure with yourself is essential to being able to love another. No one can make you happy because if that were the case than you would be at the mercy of the other. When you can enjoy moments by yourself, when you feel you are in good company when you are alone, you are ready to be in relationship and to be good company.
7. Communicate difficult issues safely. Let your partner know if you need to talk by asking if it is a good time. Then speak from your own experience of the event or issue. Blaming, criticizing, shaming, or name calling is pointless. Engaging in communication means you listen until the words you are hearing in you head are other than you own and you speak so your words can be heard.
8. Do random acts of kindness for one another.
9. Create sacred time together with all electronics turned off.
10. Keep humor part of the mix. Sometimes it is personal, most of the time it isn’t.
That’s all I have for right now.