Nov 112008
 

Learning how to improve your marriage can be as simple as ignoring the Golden Rule. These tips are from relationship coach Karen Card, author of How to Get More Love – 40 Tips to Make Love Work.

Before her tips, a quip:

“Infatuation is when you think he’s as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners.  Love is when you realize that he’s as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford — but you’ll take him anyway.” ~ Judith Viorst.

Ah, ain’t love grand?! I especially like the part about “taking him anyway” — because that’s what happy marriages are all about: acceptance and unconditional love.

If you want to improve your married life, read The Secrets of Happily Married Women: How to Get More Out of Your Relationship by Doing Less.

And, here are seven ways to improve your marriage…

How to Improve Your Marriage – A Relationship Coach’s Tips

Guest article by Karen Card, author of How to Get More Love – 40 Tips to Make Love Work.

Wives, be assertive at work — not in your marriage

Being assertive and determined works well for businesswomen, but not dating or marriages. Many women don’t understand that a man needs to feel he is successful at pursing her and making her happy, so he can fall in love with her. A man needs to feel his desire to make her happy and see her as a valuable woman who he will stay interested in for a long time.

Husbands, keep pursuing your wives!

To be a good husband, the man should pursue the woman and not the other way around. When a husband pursues his wife, he focuses on her needs and making her happy – and this makes him happy. So, both spouses are happy. However, when a woman pursues a man, it causes the man to stop pursuing her. When he stops pursuing her, he stops focusing on what makes her happy and instead he focuses on what makes him happy. While this initially feels good, he quickly loses interest in the woman….and this doesn’t increase love for married couples.

Recognize the three month honeymoon phase

When we start dating, we mistakenly believe the good feelings will last forever. However, all good marriage advice includes the bad news is that chemistry and excessive love hormones usually only last about three months. Husbands, realize that she’s human and probably won’t laugh at all your jokes as your relationship progresses. Wives, realize he may seem perfect at the beginning, but don’t start making wedding plans until you have dated for at least three months. Read Romance Tips — Easy Ways to Show Your Love for more ways to improve your marriage.

If you’re dating, don’t try to be the perfect wife or husband

During a new relationship, a woman may become so attracted to a man that she already thinks of him as her future husband. If she believes he is Mr. Right, she’ll want him to think she is Ms. Right. So, she starts acting like she is the “perfect wife” for him. She unselfishly tries to meet all his needs, and cooks and cleans for him, plans all their dates around his favorite activities, ignores her friends to accommodate his schedule, and even does his laundry. The message she is trying to send is, “See how great your life will be when we are married?”  Unfortunately, the message he hears is, “She really enjoys taking care of me, so I don’t have to do any work.  And since she seems so happy doing this now as my girlfriend, I won’t ever have to marry her.”

Don’t follow the Golden Rule

A great tip for improving your marriage is not to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule doesn’t work in love relationships or marriages because men and women have different needs. When a wife “does unto” a man, she gives him what she wants to receive (what she really wants him to give to her). When he does not appreciate this, she is upset and neither partner feels good. A practical example of this is when a woman is upset, she may want to talk about it. When a man is upset, he may want to be left alone. If she follows the Golden Rule when he is upset, she will try to get him to talk about it…which is the opposite of what he needs. When she is upset, he may leave her alone, which is what he would want but is the opposite of what she needs.

Whether you’re married or dating, follow the Silver Rule

“Do unto others as they want to be done unto.” Give your partner or spouse what he or she really needs, not what you might need in the same situation.

Wives, don’t mother your husbands

Every marriage or long-term relationship has a balance that defines each partner’s role in the relationship. Some relationships have a “give and take” balance while others work on a “masculine/feminine” balance.  However, the mother/son balance is not healthy for love relationships! In a mother/son balance, the woman ends up “taking care of” or “mothering” her husband. The more she does, the less he does because she’s taking care of everything.  This makes a marriage unhappy.

For more relationship tips, read How Do I Save My Marriage From Divorce? 6 Ways to Reconnect.

If you have any thought or questions on these tips for improving your marriage, please comment below…

Relationship coach Karen Card has helped clients all over the world get engaged, get married, stop divorces, and find happiness through love. She’s the author of How to Get More Love – 40 Tips to Make Love Work. To visit her, go to Coaching for Love.

laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen (but I wish my name was Rosie Frost!). I'm a bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer. My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

Are you happy? My Grade 10 Social Studies teacher, Mr Merritt, always used to ask me that. And I am happy - despite a difficult childhood (schizophrenic mother, no father, foster homes), infertility, an eating disorder, and a chronic illness. The source of my peace and joy is God; I'm a Christian.

How is your life unfolding - what do you need? I welcome your big and little comments below, about big or little things. I can't give you advice, but writing can give you clarity and insight.

In peace and passion.... Laurie

  6 Responses to “How to Improve Your Marriage – 7 Tips From a Relationship Coach”

  1. In the above context I understand ‘assertive’ synonymous with leading, deciding and focusing on masculine qualities. I don’t think a relationship can function well when the women takes on a masculine, commandeering role, simply because it is not an attractive trait to most healthy men. The man leads the dance and rules the castle. Leading, taking decisions and being assertive actually means proposing the next move and laying the balls on the table. So the man may be the leader but the woman is the judge who accepts or turns down the proposition. Yes, the man leads, because woman feel secure and attracted to a man who can lead, but the man has to lead the way the woman feels happy with, otherwise she would not be with him. It’s a circle. The man proposes, the woman accepts or refuses, this is how attraction basically works. Yes, a woman may pursue a man, but she does so because she wants him to pursue her, a man does not pursue a woman so she starts to pursue him.
    A woman can of course take decisions, be strong, and lead, and a man can listen, follow and agree, but attraction is based on a man displaying rather more typical male charactaristics and a woman displaying rather more female characteristics. That’s how couples get together.
    The man leads the dance, the woman follows. If he leads good, the woman is happy. The man is happy when he can make the woman happy. If he leads badly the woman becomes irritated, steps on his feet, eventually takes over the lead and then leaves him looking for someone who can lead and rule the castle.

  2. I think there are some valuable tips in this post. I particularly appreciated the comments about continuing to pursue your partner. I think people often settle into a relationship and stop doing things that make the other feel special. It takes work, but it’s worth it. Thanks for the post.

  3. Hello Anne,

    Thanks for your feedback on these tips for improving your marriage! I appreciate it.

    Laurie

  4. This article is dated and frankly, offensive. Women should, of course, be assertive in a relationship if and when it is necessary. It is actually extremely unhealthy for a woman to feel like she cannot be assertive, and articles like this should NOT promote such a notion. The idea that “men need to pursue” is merely a cultural expectation, and it is articles like this that perpetuate it. Evolutionary pull is hardly noticeable. There are far too many exceptions for it to be relevant to such a discussion. Your advice to allow men to pursue in order that they focus on the woman needs negates the often common and real desire for a woman to pursue. A better tip would have suggested a way for men to learn to focus on their partner that doesn’t involve ‘pursuing’.

    Please offer tips and instructional advice that is intelligent and insightful, rather than gendered and stereotypical.

  5. Hi Lynne,

    Thanks for your tip for improving your marriage! I agree — the first couple of years of marriage can be the most difficult. I’ve been married for five years now, and I definitely like marriage better now than when we first got married. You learn so much in the first few years!

    I’m glad you’re happily married :-)

    Laurie

  6. My honeymoon stage of 2 years was the worst 2 years of my marriage, there was the power struggle, who controls who… who will adjust to who… after that we both learned to accept each others flaws and love each other still. We are now 11 years married and going stronger. I believe too that in marriage you have to make the man feel like he rules the castle even if it was your idea ;)