Write these down, married people!
If you’re having problems with your marriage, there are lots of places you can go to get advice on how to make things better.
You can talk to friends, family, a relationship coach, a counselor, a therapist — or you can browse some of the thousands of articles online that offer really solid, insightful suggestions and guidance.
BUT, just because all of that marriage advice is out there, it doesn’t mean that people actually listen to it.
Which is a shame.
If you talk to a marriage counseling professional, they’ll tell you that they spend a good deal of their time giving the same advice over and over again — often to the same people. Why? Because, sometimes, couples hear the advice and simply choose to ignore it.
That happens for several reasons. Maybe they don’t understand it; maybe they think the advice doesn’t apply to them (even when it does). Regardless, it can take hearing the same piece of advice multiple times before a struggling couple actually realizes “Wait, so should WE do that?”
Knowing this is the case, we talked to several of YourTango’s marriage Experts and asked “What’s the one piece of marriage advice that you wish your clients would STOP ignoring?” Here are their top 6 responses:
1. Acknowledge your partner.
“Stop blaming, and start listening to each other. By simply switching gears, hitting the reset button and letting her know that you're listening will immediately strengthen your couple connection. It's all about acknowledging each other especially when one of you does something small that's really thoughtful and a statement of love. These are the building blocks of a relationship. Couples forget how to be kind to each other and to be friends!”
Margot Brown has helped couples and individuals create happier lives for over 20 years. She’s the author of "Kickstart Your Relationship Now! Move On or Move Out." You can find it on Amazon and in local bookstores near you.
2. Remember the things you like about each other.
“I don't know if marriage advice experts ever say this one, but I believe once you stop appreciating what the other person brings to the table that things can fizzle out over time. So create a ritual for yourself that lists the 3 things you appreciate about your partner every morning. You'll notice that the good will begin to amplify and become greater. Amplify it more? Say those 3 things to each other! (every day).”
3. Understand that your spouse isn’t going to become a different person.
Ignored advice: Don’t try and change your spouse.
"Stop trying to change your spouse’s attitude about money. It’s in their DNA. Learn to embrace their approach to money, (think: coupon-clipping, care-free spending, investment style, ignoring the budget, etc.) even if it drives you nuts. Stop wishing they would think more like you, and figure out what strengths they do have when it comes to dollars and cents and focus on those.”
Scott & Bethany Palmer, The Money Couple, are financial planners, authors, and speakers who help couples tackle money issues in their relationship. Grab a copy of "The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language," and take the FREE online Money Personality Assessment.
4. Accept that you’re going to argue.
“Become comfortable with disagreements! When people say they never disagree about things with their partner, one or both are suppressing their true thoughts and feelings. Disagreements are a fact of life, even in healthy relationships. The disagreement itself isn't the cause of problems; it's the way you both handle disagreements that make or break your marriage. Handling the disagreement in a respectful manner where you both feel heard and understood builds a stronger marriage.”
5. Value actions over words.
“Stop thinking that if you love people enough, are patient enough, kind, quiet, considerate, or accepting enough that they will miraculously change. No, believe behaviors, not words. They are showing you who they are. Believe them ... preferably before you move in or marry them.”
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, is a relationship consultant, educator and author helping the partners, exes, and adult children of the relentlessly difficult people she calls "Hijackals" to save their sanity and stop the crazy-making. You can follow her blog and get her free ebook at ForRelationshipHelp.com
6. Have fun with each other.
"The couple that plays together, stays together."
While it may be an old cliché, there is truth here. As divorce coaches, we hear story after story about couples who drifted too far apart and no longer feel like they have anything in common — especially if they spent years instead, focusing on their kids . It's important to invest the time engaging in things you both love — as well as working to discover new things to do together. This helps you regularly renew your friendship and strengthen your bond as you live and grow TOGETHER."
Educators and trained coaches, Kimberly Mishkin and Liza Caldwell are the cofounders of SAS for Women®. You can find out more about Kim and Liza by visiting their website or reading more on YourTango.