Just about every day I will get a question on one of my websites about what works to make for a happy and successful marriage or relationship. People are often looking for the special rules they can follow to bring bliss and joy to their marital lives. More often than not, a couple will go through the typical marriage up and downs and when they find themselves in a valley, it is not unusual for one or both relationship partners to seek answers.
It is interesting what we do when we seek happiness. We instinctively know when things are not right and instead of wallowing in pain and suffering, the typical action a devoted spouse will take is to seek out a solution. Sometimes that involves turning to a friend for help with our marriage. Though that can be awkward as we may not be comfortable talking about our marriage woes to just anybody.
A wife or husband could turn to their family for advice and counsel, but I see even less of this because our marriage problems and lack of happiness is just not something we want to drag our family into.
So what are we to do when we are trying to make things work out a lot better with our spouse?
What Can You Do To Make Your Marriage One of the Happy Ones!
Sometimes we think a marriage counselor might work. But a lot of people have told me stories about how they tried, but it didn’t work. Finding the right marital counselor that really knows their stuff and can connect with both husband and wife is not always a sure thing.
Before you go that route, take an opportunity to read my post on the secrets to a satisfying marriage. It might just help you get past marriage counseling!
Utilizing a marriage therapist or counselor also pre-supposes that both husband and wife agree that they want a 3rd party to help them and that is not always the case.
The couple may think their problems….the barriers to marriage happiness are not enough to cause them to get help from a trained psychologist or marriage counselor. Plus, they may not be able to afford the marriage counseling sessions. Just raising the topic with the wife or husband might create undue anxiety or even contribute to yet another conflict.
These days, a lot of relationship partners turn to a book or the internet looking for help. Undoubtedly, their are several good resources out there that can help a couple get back on track and better understand their problems. Even if just one of the marriage partners is seeking insights, ideas, or a plan on how to improve their marriage, going it solo as far as reading and educating oneself can be helpful.
But where does one start? There are all kinds of articles out there and a lot of different advice on what a couple should do to maximize their happiness. Since I own 3 websites that focus on relationship issues and write extensively about the topic, allow me to point you in the right direction.
You see, if you read a lot about how to get your marriage back in order or how to recover from a bad marriage, you are likely to ran across all kinds of ideas….possibly many dozens of suggestions.
You may even get some marriage tips and recommendations that are so far out there, that you may start second guessing if you should even try some of these wild notions.
So before you get desperate, consider falling back on some good old fashioned relationship advice. Here is an article I recently wrote on ways to strengthen your marriage. Feel free to dive in!
If you find yourself gravitating to ideas like “psychic touch” marriage therapy or methods like linking up horoscopes or pursuing other magical sounding solutions, then I would advise you steer clear of these kinds of marital remedies, unless you are looking for a laugh. Well now hold it! Laughing with your marital partner is great therapy. It truly is. So if you want to try some of these things just for the fun of it, go for it!
It is also likely you will run across what I call the “top lists” relationship solutions. Typically the author of such an article might explain that putting all the pieces of your marriage back together is as easy as implementing these 15 steps (or top 10 tactics). Ummm. I am not so keen on these kind of articles. I will tell you in a minute!
In some ways, I think it is a good thing to have more than a few ideas to work with because after all, marriages are complex entities. I mean, after all, your relationship is essentially the sum total of what you and your husband or wife put into it. And what people are willing to offer or what they are capable of bringing to the relationship can vary widely.
And not every marriage is impacted by the same issues and stresses. It is true that sometimes life can deal us a bad hand and the same can be said about your marriage in many ways. After all, you don’t really get to choose your in laws and that has been known to create some stresses. Nor does every couple start on equal footing when it comes to the evolution of their marriage. For some partners, finances can be a big problem from the get go. Health issues can create its own host of problems. If children are part of the marriage equation in those early days, then rest assured that the typical stresses and anxieties of life will be compounded (though that can be offset by some terrific and fulfilling moments and experiences).
So when we talk about what makes a marriage good and the things we should focus on to bring that about, just know that this is a very complex subject and the challenges and solutions are different depending on the people involved and the circumstances each couple is operating under.
But what if I told you that there are some proven principles, that if you embrace and put into practice, can really help your marriage grow in strength. No one can promise you that every single thing in your marriage will fall in place and that if you only implement these 10 or 20 steps, all will be good.
Good Marriages Focus on the High Hard Ones
First of all, it is impractical to expect people to be able to effectively implement many, many things. If I was to talk to my relationship clients about executing 15 steps to improve their marital lives, their eyes would glaze over and I am pretty sure they will give up from sheer exhaustion of trying so many things. That would be spreading out your efforts. I think of doing such things as the “thin” slice of marriage remedies. It all sounds good, but what would be more meaningful is knowing the top things to focus on.
Fortunately, to make progress in improving your marital situation, you need not implement a ton of things. Indeed, in my view you are better served if you focus on what I call the “high hard ones”. Not that these principles that I am about to talk about are necessarily hard or difficult to implement. What I mean is that there are some things you should be doing in your marriage that are so important…so vital…that they rise to the top of the totem pole.
They are the rock solid solutions that will help you advance your relationship to the next level. Such principles, when implemented, can help a couple enormously get over their anger issues or communication breakdowns and bring the focus around to the bigger picture of what really matters.
The Golden Synergistic Marriage Principle
I have written an article about this topic elsewhere on the site which you can find here:
The first principle and by far the most important principle that will help you arrive at a quality marriage is practicing, religiously, the wisdom of being “kind” to each other.
There have been studies evaluating married couples and the one common denominator that all successful couples shared is they are kind to each other, both in terms of words, gestures, and body language. If there was only one thing you could improve and do an extraordinary job of adopting into your marriage, then it would be practicing kindness day in and day out.
You see, kindness is more than just a word or a thought. To make a marriage fall within that good to great range, then kindness should be a way of life. Clearly, it is easier said than done. But if you wanted a little magic today….real magic based on science and empirical relationship research, then let kindness prevail in the ways you and your wife or husband interact each and every day.
The second principle, which is critical but often overlooked, deals with making sure the relationship partners make time, alone, with each other. That means, not being interrupted by others. It does not have to be any special place or environment. The idea is that spending time together, alone, can create a powerful and lasting bond. Even if you just sit near each other and read for an hour without other interruptions, it makes a difference. Making love together counts as time together, alone. Going out someplace, preferably a quite place so you can talk about things and connect about events happening in your life, is yet another example.
A third principle you and your spouse should adopt deals with making time for yourself. Too often in marriages, the prevailing notion is that husband and wife need to spend all their free time together. The thinking is that the more time you spend with your spouse, the more you will appreciate and value their company.
I think this is true to some extent, particularly as it applies to spending time, alone, with your wife or husband. But we need a life of our own and we should all have personal aims and goals we strive to achieve. And to the extent that your wife or husband can support you in attaining these personal objectives almost always indirectly supports the strengthening of your marriage.
A fourth principle deals with getting out of the box with your communications. We often hear about the importance of communications in a relationship. When one or the other marriage partners fail to open up and talk and share, then this usually leads to future problems.
One’s comfort with open communications is a highway to improving marital success. If you desire to have a happy marriage, better yet a continuous strengthening of your relationship, then I think a couple needs to get out of the box with their communications.
I am talking about making your communications with your spouse more trans formative. This is where I get into this discussion of synergy. You see, all five of these principles that I am discussing have a synergistic relationship. This means each support the other and can be integrated within the other. They are all connected. If one of the principles is poorly implemented, then that can impact the other principles and likewise can set your marriage back.
Part of being a good communicator is not so much about frequency. Rather the focus should be on quality. A good marriage is about two people saying nice things to each other…kind things being shared back and forth. That in itself can be a hugely transformative event.
You do remember the first principle we discussed, right?
It is all about practicing kindness and showing appreciation to our spouse on a daily basis. If you do this within your verbal and non verbal communications with your wife or husband, then look out…your marriage has the potential of being fantastic.
The fifth principle that can go a long ways in making your marriage better is seeking to revitalize your marriage. One of the the most common pitfalls married couples make is choosing to shoot par for the course.
Now what the heck does that mean?
Essentially, even solid marriages can get…..well…..a bit too settled. Things can come easy and routines….even if they are good and safe routines…can get just a bit too familiar and a bit too safe.
For a marriage to thrive, it needs to evolve. If you want a good….check that….a “great” marriage, then you need to start thinking about doing some things differently. Now, I am not talking about changing everything about what makes the two of you “work“. Not at all. What I am advocating though is that you and your wife or husband, whatever the case may be, need to usher in some excitement into your marriage.
Go on a second honeymoon……try doing something you have never done before….explore some new, sexually oriented experiences with each other….go on a hot air balloon ride….start off, even if you are relatively a still young couple, on knocking out some of the items on your “bucket list”. Whatever you choose to do, decide together and change things up to keep the marriage and your interactions with each other fresh, challenging, thrilling, and fulfilling.
It is through successfully implementing these 5 synergistic principles of marriage that you and the love of your life can make good on your promise to each other to rock each other’s life in the most beautiful and satisfying ways.