In the beginning of your love story, connection and fun come easy. The things that your partner does now to get on your last nerve were once seen as unique quirks rather than deal breakers. Butterflies and chemistry made disagreements seem less daunting, and it was easy to overlook the wrongdoings of your partner. However, once the newness begins to wear off, the things which once came easy begin to weigh on your relationship. If you decide to take the leap of faith and say yes to a proposal, another phase begins. The excitement of wedding planning temporarily takes over every aspect of your life. You are filled with joy and stress as you argue over flowers, try on dresses, and work out the details for your big day. People thrive on designing their dream wedding, but what about a dream marriage?
Marriage is hard work and cannot be maintained without effort and intentionality. So many couples forget this aspect of their relationship, especially when they are newlyweds. When you stand at the altar, you make a promise and commitment to your partner for life. Seems easy enough, right? What about when the chemistry diminishes, and the relationship is burdened with bills, children, and other common stressors? This may sound negative, but it is a fact of life. Marriage happens on days when we are sick, frustrated, and exhausted. You see your spouse at their absolute best and worst. The age-old reference of 50/50 comes to mind, but for a marriage to truly stand the test of time, each partner must have the goal of 100/100. Below are the 3 most important aspects of a lasting and fulfilling marriage.
As we go through the stages of life, we grow, mature, and evolve. What we once enjoyed may not bring happiness anymore. Maybe you’ve gone through a major event that shook your foundation and changed your whole outlook. Or maybe you have slowly grown and your views have transformed. Whether it is a slow transformation or one that happens overnight, we all change. As we change, the needs and desires of our relationships will change as well. This means that in order to nurture your marriage, both you and your spouse must grow together, not apart. This concept seems cliche, but it is so important for marriage- especially when you marry at a young age.
The marriages that truly stand the test of time consist of two partners who vow to continually learn about one another! Make it a point to know your partner intimately. What do they enjoy? What is their favorite song and why? What do they like to watch on TV? These are fun things that most make a priority in the beginning stages of relationships, but over the years this habit can slowly fade away. Don’t let it!
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, yet it is often what couples struggle with the most. After living together for an extended period of time, it can be easy to assume that we know how our spouse is feeling or what they are thinking. As you assume these things, communication, and intimacy begin to disappear, leaving you and your spouse with unmet expectations. These unmet expectations are one of the fastest ways to damage your relationship.
It is difficult to know when you are lacking in the communication department, especially when you have established unhealthy habits that are ingrained from childhood. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to grow up with dysfunctional familial relationships. The family environment that you experience during your formative years affects the way you communicate with others later in life. This means that you may have to reteach yourself how to use your words effectively. Discover your partner’s communication style and learn how they process the messages you are sending them. It is also important to provide your spouse with a shoulder they can lean on and an ear that listens without judgment. It is easy to get so caught up in our responses, that we forget how to truly listen. When listening to your spouse, listen to understand rather than to respond.
Being an adult comes with so many responsibilities and stress. You have obligations at work, bills, and kids to keep up with. These can take priority in your life and the health of your marriage may be an afterthought. If you don’t make it a point to date your spouse, the romance will slowly drift away. Remember what it was like to truly enjoy each other and have fun. Scheduling date nights and time alone with your spouse is vital for a strong and lasting connection. They will be your partner for life, so learn how to let loose and enjoy all aspects of your life together. Don’t take things so seriously and make bonding with your spouse a priority. Staying connected and intimate can make all the other things in life seem like less of a burden.
Marriage is hard! It takes compassion, selflessness, and determination for a marriage to thrive over a lifetime. I like to remind others that if marriage seems easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. Navigating the changing tides in life and relationships can be an intricate process. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we pride ourselves on having therapists who are family and relationship-focused. We want you to live the life you desire with your partner by your side. Whether it is learning healthy communication or working through a deep hurt, we have the tools to help you. If you desire to deepen your understanding of your spouse or simply want to learn healthy marital habits, we are the place for you. Call us at (405) 921-7776