All of us want our marriages to be the best.
When we fell in love with our partner, all we could think about was how wonderful they are and how happy we would be for the remainder of our lives.
How can we make sure that our dreams come true?
So let’s explore what makes for a great marriage?
I think you might be a bit surprised with some of the findings of the wise and great minds that study this subject.
Ok, now just in case you think I am getting cocky, I am not including myself in that group.
Sure, I have a lot of knowledge and practical experience from working with many thousands of individuals and couples.
I enjoy helping motivated people through the good and bad relationship times.
It is always a privilege and pleasure to offer advice and help people see other options.
But today, we are going to focus on what one of the premier thought leaders has said about this topic.
How Does a Couple End Up With A Great Marriage Filled With Passion
What if I told you that having a super marriage is not as complicated as you may have thought.
We know there have been many smart people who have weighed on this topic.
Many thousands of articles are written every day about how to achieve a happy relationship.
Do you ever wonder if you may have married the wrong man? Are you struggling with finding the sweet spot in your marriage? Be sure to check out this post I wrote on the topic…
A lot of people have a lot to say on this topic. After all, love brings out the best and worst in us all. And getting answers that can specifically help with one’s marriage is a worthwhile endeavor.
Relationships influence how we human beings interact in society. And if you are married, you can bet you will be spending a lot of time with your spouse.
And if the marriage is a poor one, it can be a downer for not just you, but for all your friends and family.
I have come to believe that some people have a better take on this topic than others.
The folks I am referring to are some of the great minds in the field of human behavior. One researcher, whose biological anthropological findings are second to none, goes by the name of Helen Fisher.
When it comes to love, attraction, bonding, and all matters related to human behavior and relationships……Helen is one my favorites.
I am going to bring her back into the picture a little later. But if you wish to read more about her accomplishments and some of her views, check out this link.
Were Your Early Days of Marriage Blissful?
It can be hard to top those early moments, days, and weeks in which our love for our partner was practically all that mattered to us.
Those were the days!
The sweet, romantic and unblemished love between two highly engaged souls.
Lovers during the romantic stage of their relationship have the most wonderful thoughts dancing through their minds.
Of course, a great deal of our enthusiasm was probably getting a big assist from the flow of dopamine (and other feel good hormones) released in our brain.
You can’t blame us for soaking up all those beautiful feelings. It is what essentially every couple, married or not, really strives for.
And when we get these sweet, loving experiences with the one we love, we want more and more.
When these feel good hormones are released and tap into the reward center of our brains, we kinda become prisoners to the chemistry of how we react to our lover.
Now I don’t want to make love sound like it is completely born within a sort of chemical test tube inside our brains.
Because it is not.
Love is not something that comes about simply because our brain chemistry and hormones take over.
The myriad of experiences you have with a person and the quality of those moments you spend with him or her accounts for a lot what you end up feeling for that person.
Eventually though, marriage comes a calling and why not take the plunge if you have all the right reasons.
At least, that is the thinking for a lot of people.
Which leads us to how couples end up with each other.
Of course, selecting your mate is an article unto itself, isn’t it. There are so many things we can do to select the right person. And there are many ways we can go about selecting our husband or wife with all the wrong things in mind.
It truly is a hugely important topic. You know what I mean! Doing your due diligence, unfiltered by the influences of all those “feel good emotions”, is so important.
Getting the right husband or wife who connects with you in all the right ways and finding someone who has some of the key personality characteristics that makes for a successful marriage….well….all I can say is that it behooves you to do your due diligence.
I will make a deal with you. What I just got through talking about is important.
So I will make it a separate post and will write about it in greater detail in the future.
So don’t get mad at me or feel desperate that you “must” know the secret recipe, RIGHT NOW!
Take solace that in the words to follow, I will indeed be touching on some of those important ingredients you need to look for in your future wife or husband before you get hitched.
Now for those of you that need to latch on to some ideas right now because you can’t wait, then take a look at this lengthy post I wrote that deals with a lot of important marital success factors!
As we proceed, I will be operating under the assumption that you found this post because either you are married or close to being married and want to know what it is you can do make your marriage not just good, but outstanding.
Well it turns out, probably not to your surprise, that there are many things that can influence a marriage in a positive manner.
Such is the complexity of relationships. You really can’t just hang your hat on just one thing that the couple needs to do to make the relationship jell.
But if you are like me, you are probably wondering if anyone has ever tried to boil it down to just a few key and critical things you and your spouse can do, over and over again, that results in success.
It is not hard to find things that we can all do better to make our marriages great.
Take yourself for example. You are probably really good at a number of things that makes it easy for your husband to really enjoy being around you.
But if you had to boil it all down such that you and your husband (or wife) could talk about it and say, “yes, let’s do that……we can do that“, what would it be.
What is the secret marriage sauce that can make you and your husband love birds for life?
What can you do every day that can make your marriage a mind bending experience?
How can you bring a smile to your spouse’s face everyday because of these things you as a couple repeat over and over again?
And when the marriage get’s in trouble and you are both needing some guidance to get things back in track, what is your go to strategy?
What helps you and your husband (or wife) unwind whatever problem or conflict you are having.
Well, that is a lot of questions.
So how about some answers?
I bet you are dying to know what you can do to move the marriage up to the next level.
I am warning you, you will be surprised.
But not in a “Oh my god, I didn’t realize that“, but rather you will be pleasantly surprised that the levers that you can turn to make your marriage work so much better is remarkably within your control.
That is right.
You and your husband (or wife) have the competencies to pull this off. I have no doubt about that. You need not be some kind of marriage wizard to excel.
You need only do about 3 things well.
The rest will fall in place if your nourish it and keep seeking opportunities to continuously improve.
So what are these three things that can make your marriage unquestionably far better than what it is now?
Let’s start with the first one.
Celebrating the Good of Your Marriage
When we look at most marriages, you can point to strengths and weaknesses.
One of the spouses will have their list of skills, competencies, or characteristics that makes them shine.
For example, let’s say your husband is really good at keeping calm. He is even-tempered and when others around him get a little crazy, he maintains his cool.
Lets also say that you husband is affectionate. He holds you freely and touches you softly and when you and he embrace, he tells you the very things you need to hear.
Let’s say your man is reliable. His word is good. You can count on him to do the things he says. He is trustworthy.
And while we are at it, let’s also say that your guy is in great shape. He exercises and eats healthy and you love that about him because it encourages you to do the same things. And as a result, you feel good about yourself.
So, let those examples stand on he positive side of your husband’s relationship skill set.
But of course your husband isn’t perfect.
While he may possess some really good attributes that help make the marriage much smoother sailing, he also will undoubtedly have some behaviors that are not ideal.
For example, perhaps your husband just does not have the best choice in clothes. Maybe he is just a bit sloppy. I am not saying he is a slob. Rather, let’s say he is no fashion genius.
And maybe he is not the most social of guys. Let’s say when you want to have a party or gathering of friends, he is not the most enthusiastic about the idea and sorta hangs in the background, not quite sure how to blend in.
Maybe you love dancing and use to go out a lot with your friends before you were married. But let’s say your husband has two left feet. He would rather stand in the rain than go out and dance it up.
So positives and negatives. We all have them, right?
But here is the rub. It is the couples that emphasis and elevate each other strengths and positive attributes that make for great marriages. They focus much more on all the good things their spouse does and avoids dwelling on the negative or the lesser capable aspects of their spouse’s personality or skill set.
When you interact with your husband (or wife) in this manner, you keep the spotlight on the positive attributes.
It is not like you are living a lie with your spouse. Rather, you choose to define your mood and attitude that the “glass is more than half full by embracing all of the positive things your husband (or wife) does.
What you want to do is more than embrace, you want to celebrate your spouse’s strengths and make sure they know how much your enjoy that special part that make your husband (or wife) who they are.
Helen Fischer has a clever phrase to describe this mentality. She refers to it as a form of “positive allusion” where you hyper focus on the things you love and adore about your partner to enhance that sense of being madly and passionately in love.
And on the flip side, you avoid dwelling on those things that are not so admirable or attractive about your marriage partner.
Make Empathy Your Language of Love
The second finding that points to successful marriages is the couple’s ability to show empathy.
When Helen Fischer conducted her brain scan research of those couples that doing amazingly well with each other, she noticed that the part of their brain that often lit up when they interacted has to do with empathy.
Your ability to step into your marriage partner “shoes” so to speak and really feel and experience what they are going through emotionally is a real asset. It helps the couple tremendously in their ability to form connections and pathways to each other.
It takes a refined level of active listening to be truly empathetic. You have to care and you have to seek to understand whatever it is they are feeling. To do that, you and your relationship partner have to act in a selfless way to try to embrace what the other person is feeling.
If empathy is not front and center in your relationship, talk to your partner about the importance of behaving in this fashion and try it out every evening.
Make time to listen to and really hear what is going on with your partner. Do it often enough, it will become a routine.
I know of one wife who convinced her husband that when he listens to her and tries hard to understand what she may be going through and how she truly feels about it, it makes her feel incredibly connected to her husband. Revealing her emotional vulnerability made her feel closer to her husband to the extent that it enhanced the intimacy between them.
So in effect, her husband’s act of empathy made her feel loved and in return she felt more intimate and welcomed greater intimacy.
In her case, Her husband’s empathy led to a higher degree of closeness which led to greater emotional intimacy.
A Strong Marriage is About Controlling Your Own Emotions
Let’ s say your are married and your husband is the kind of guy that holds it together really well.
He is good at controlling his emotions, finding that emotional balance such that he seldom gets really upset, angry, or exceptionally moody about things.
If you too are cut from that same cloth and don’t allow yourself to overreact or become easily upset with your husband, then the two of you are more than likely a very strong pair.
Passion within a relationship is a good thing if is it used for positive outcomes.
When emotions of either extreme (good or bad) dominate the marriage scene, you may find yourselves spending far too much time extracting yourself from problems you each had a hand in making.
Successful couples focus on maintaining an even keel and not reacting adversely to the various challenges and complications that life and marriage.