All of this information can be really motivating to find a way to create a happy marriage. Good communication skills, allowing space for your partner to be who they are, speaking how you feel, always being in forgiveness are all great ways to keep a marriage going and growing.
Our clients have asked us if we argue and we answer, “Of course we do,” and it looks and sounds like an argument. The difference is what happens after we cool off. We know that when we stay in authentic communication that we can work through anything. When you close yourself off from your partner, you create distance and the more you do that, the more difficult it is to bridge the gap.
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We also have a saying about our feelings. We don’t allow “any dishes to be in the sink.” What we mean is that we don’t hold onto our feelings until they become so built up inside that we end up exploding. By dealing with the small feelings we don’t allow the tension to build up inside and we honor what each of us is feeling.
On the very rare occasion that we don’t speak up, we take responsibility for it. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mention this last night I was feeling ______________.” We own our feelings without pointing the finger or placing blame.
We believe its important for our clients to know how we maneuver through the tough patches and to let them know that they exist in every relationship. Sharing a lifetime with someone certainly means sharing the ups and the downs, and the goal is for the good times to outweigh the bad, not by a little - but by a landslide.
One top key to a long lasting marriage is something we learned from our close friends on the day of our marriage. They advised us to take the blank pages in our wedding guest book and write down our goals together. We loved this idea and decided to take it a step further. Every year on our anniversary we open up that book and review what we wrote down. We talk about what we created and re-evaluate if they are still important. Then we update them for the next year.
Having a common goal is the key to keeping any group of people together. From sports teams, to businesses, to relationships, common goals are the glue that hold the group together. Discovering and creating common goals together is the glue that will hold your marriage together over time.
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It is important that these common goals are about the two of you and your relationship. How many times have we heard of the couple that created common goals around their children only to find that when the children were grown that there wasn’t any reason to stay together. Make sure you have goals that are separate from your children. We know that children are important, however the benefits of a long-term happy marriage are worth setting goals beyond your children.