Making marriage work doesn’t have to be painful – but only if you and your spouse are on the same page. If you’re not, then making your marriage work will require you to carry the full load.
And you won’t be able to do it for long.
“All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest,” said Ann Landers. “Good [arguments] are healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principle of equal partnership.”
That’s one tip for making your marriage work: learn know how to disagree without letting it become a problem in your relationship.
If your marriage is rocky, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert.
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And, here are a few tips for working on your marriage so it doesn’t wear you down…
7 Tips for Making Your Marriage Work
In response to my article about criticism in marriage, Sherry said she not only recognizes she’s in a bad cycle with her husband – she wants to learn how to break the cycle. This is one of the first steps to saving your marriage: recognizing the contribution of both partners to the unhealthy parts of the marriage.
Talk about your marriage (an obvious “secret” of happy couples)
This seems like an obvious way to build a better marriage, but it’s surprisingly difficult to talk about your relationship! A psychologist taught me that talking about your relationship can make it better – even if you don’t solve your problems immediately. Just talking about your marriage brings you closer together. Or, it can help you realize that you may not want to save your marriage after all.
If that’s the case, read Marriage Crisis – Surviving When You Have Nothing Left.
Recognize when you’re pulling away emotionally and physically
I know when I’m disconnecting emotionally and physically from my husband, and I know that it doesn’t help our marriage! To have a better relationship, my advice is to recognize when you’re pulling away and do the exact opposite. So, instead of retreating to your shell, tell your partner why you’re retreating. No blame or guilt trips: just honesty.
If you want to make your marriage work, you need to be honest with yourself and your spouse.
Decide together if marriage counseling will help make your marriage work
Couples therapy is an effective way of building better relationships if both partners are committed. One partner can’t save a marriage alone. This is one of my favorite bits of marriage advice: get an objective third party to help you resolve your marriage problems and save your marriage. When you’re in the thick of things, you can’t see if you or your partner is being unreasonable (usually, it’s a little of both).
An objective third party — a marriage or couples counselor — can help you make your marriage work by bridging communication gaps and helping you see your marriage clearly.
Figure out what you need from your marriage
To build a better marriage, each partner needs to be clear about their hopes and expectations. For instance, the reader who asked for relationship advice may need her husband to stop sending text messages to his woman friend. He may have unmet needs; he needs to figure out how to express those needs to his wife so she can figure out if she can meet them.
Do you want your spouse to help you improve your marriage? Read You’re Tired of Trying to Make Your Marriage Work…What Next?
Decide what you can give to your marriage
Perhaps the best way to build a better marriage — and one of my favorite relationship tips — is about what you can give to your marriage (not necessarily what you can get). A secret of happy couples is to be clear about your needs, but it’s equally or perhaps more important to figure out where you’re dropping the ball. How can you build a better marriage by improving yourself?
Learn how to argue in healthy ways
Building a better relationship with your spouse means you need to stop blaming, criticizing, or belittling your partner. Regardless of how your husband or wife treats you, you need to communicate with love and respect.
If you want to get your marriage back on track, you may find Save My Marriage Today helpful — it includes how to avoid the most common reasons for divorce.
For more ways to build a better marriage, read Secrets Husbands Keep From Their Wives, Plus Marriage Tips.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this advice about building a better marriage, please comment below…