3. Reflective Listening – The most successful couples are able to listen effectively, maintain attention to the conversation, and reflect back about what the other person said. When we know that the other person is truly listening, we can feel a greater emotional connection. Strong marriages are built on trust, and reflective listening is one way of building trust and emotional connectedness.
4. Acceptance and Understanding of Roles – Of course there are many different types of marriages. Some marriages have a more traditional framework, while others have a more modern twist. Whether the family has a stay-at-home dad or the CEO professional mother, it is important to have respect and acceptance for one another’s roles within the relationship. Does one party or the other have more household roles? It is ok to have these differences, as long as each party agrees and accepts the roles. When one partner feels that he or she is doing more work than the other, there tends to be an erosion of the relationship. Open up a discussion about the roles and responsibilities for each partner, and agree on it.
5. Fight Fair – Sure there are going to be disagreements within any relationship, but the most important thing to remember is the “fight” fair. Couples need to strive to reach a mutual solution to a problem, and not focus on who is right and who is wrong. Relationships are not about keeping score or an upper hand. When we talk about the “protective” advantages of marriage (such as living longer after a bypass surgery), the marriage must be described as not being highly conflictual in nature.
By keeping these “secrets” front and center, we can improve our chances of maintaining a long and positive relationship. Marriages of the past were often kept together because of financial necessity or fear of social disapproval. Today’s marriage is much different, and it is more socially acceptable to divorce. Because of this, we may have created lower tolerance for the minor annoyances in any relationship. It may be advantageous to read through these secrets for a successful marriage with your spouse, and discuss which areas may need some nurturing.