Marriage is just hard sometimes, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you like some secrets from the Masters of Marriage on how to hedge your bets on your marriage not only lasting, but lasting Happily Ever After?
Well, now – I have just the thing for today. Some quick and easy tips guaranteed to make life easier and your marriage happier.
Both people come into a marriage with a history of relationships from their past. I’m not referring to prior dating relationships or marriages. I am actually referring to our relationships with Mom, Dad and family members from birth.
The more we discover about neuroscience, the more we realize the brain actually develops neurological patterns of relating to each other. You might call it bonding. Whatever you call it – the patterns of relating to each other begin developing from birth and continue operating until the day we die.
Some of these patterns are so wonderful. For instance, a child who is raised in a responsive environment to his or her needs develops a security about expressing their needs. The assumption people care about them helps individuals to take risks in life, love freely and have an overall sense of well-being.
But – Guess what? Life isn’t perfect. Parents aren’t perfect. Things happen. People get hurt. Patterns of relating to each other are sometimes just not all that healthy. And in some cases, we have to learn to unlearn patterns from the past in our current relationships.
Not only that – When a couple is trying to improve their relationship,they find out they have developed patterns of relating to each other that aren’t always that healthy. These patterns then go in the pile of Patterns To Unlearn.
It is beautiful to be married for a long, long, long time. -My hubby and I are going on 2,800 years – Ooops! I mean 28 years! Bob and I probably wouldn’t give ourselves the title of “Masters of Marriage.” However, we are pretty happy right now. We have put into practice some very practical habits to turn our relationship around from a Marriage Disaster to at least Junior Masters of Marriage!
1. Knowing the Truth of “I Don’t Know”
Ever had an opinion about how you should solve a problem? Ever had your partner disagree with you about how to solve the problem? And then – you both get stuck in arguing about which solution is ‘the best’ solution.
Suddenly – you’re no longer talking about the problem, but the argument has become about who is right and who is wrong. It is so much better to resolve to believe “I don’t know” what the best way is to solve this problem. Let’s talk about it.
Research shows Masters of Marriages focus on listening and hearing to understand each other, rather than on who is right and who is wrong. Just taking the time.
. It will help you both choose the solution.
2. Giving Up Mind Reading Skills and Asking Questions
Regardless of how long you have been married – you simply don’t know what your partner is thinking or feeling. Oh, you might have a good idea in some cases. I’ll give you that. But you simply do not know whether that ‘sigh’ your partner gave was a ‘sigh’ of, “I’m so exhausted, I really need to sleep” or a “sigh” of, “I’m tired of you right now.”
Often in my counseling office, a couple will be talking with each other, when suddenly, one of the partners will say, “Never mind!” and go into silence. Upon investigating, we will discover the person who went into silence was practicing their Mind Reading Skills. They had seen a body movement from their partner and had read meaning into the movement.
A healthier practice would be to keep your day job and quit the Mind Reading Skills. Ask questions when you see your partner make a gesture you think might have a negative thought attached to it.
I am so grateful when Bob and I do this small skill of Asking Questions. We have both found out those gestures often mean we are frustrated with ourselves – not each other. Giving up the Mind Reading Skills and Asking Questions has allowed us to resolve conflict quicker. That way, we can get on to more – er- loving things!
Research shows couples who practice their spiritual beliefs together – in their home – drastically reduces the divorce rate and significantly increases marital satisfaction.
A simple healthy habit Bob and I practice is Praying Together.
Don’t get me wrong. If you were in our bedroom – which I’m really glad you’re not – you wouldn’t hear any fancy, long and eloquent prayer. You would simply see us hold hands or arms while laying in bed and take turns praying for our family, friends, selves and leaders.
Praying helps Bob and I to feel even more connected to each other. We both agree we experience a closeness, a hopefulness and a strength in our relationship from regularly praying together.
Pulling It Together
So – There you go! Three simple actions you can begin today. Research shows these actions will increase your marital satisfaction. Talk to your partner about these three actions. What one action can you begin implementing today?
Come on back and let me know how it goes! Let’s increase marital satisfaction and all become at least Junior Masters of Marriage!
The above isn’t intended as professional marital counseling. If you are interested in professional counseling, give me a call at 530-268-3558 or contact me at [email protected]. Let’s talk and decide if I am a good fit for you or if I can refer you to one of my wonderful colleagues.