A good marriage seems hard to come by today. With so many couples finding out later in the marriage that their needs and expectations are not being met, they find themselves wondering what a good marriage even looks like. Whether we like to admit it or not, at some time in the marriage, we have wondered if the marriage is “good”. This may be during a fight or during a rough patch when communication seems to be hard.
What does not work is when we compare and strive to meet other couple’s standards of what we perceive as a good marriage. Many couples get caught getting the advice from other married couples only to find out that their marriages were anything less than good. The only one you need to be honest and authentic in is your own relationship. The advice givers are the ones that are more than likely trying to just convince themselves.
The digital age we live in is very tempting and we find ourselves often spending more time on our phone and on the screens of our computers instead of making face to face contact. Healthy couples make it a point to turn off their devices and really engage in authentic conversation. Facebook and Messenger are not forms of communication.
Both of you have seen each other at your best and worst. Couples that are the healthiest bring out the best in each other and love you at your worst. You highlight each others strengths instead of attempting to gain “one up” by broadcasting the weaknesses. No one partner is held to a past mistake or issue. There is no score keeping going on. Forgiveness is shown quickly and anger is released.
We all know that when you have children we must do all we can to provide and protect them. It starts to hurt the marriage when you put the focus solely onto the children. The marriage goes on the back burner. It is important to give your children the gift of seeing what a loving, healthy and authentic relationship looks like. Go out on dates and spend quality time without the kids. Be a role model for your kids.
A good marriage does not consist of keeping secrets. There are not locks on the phones with pass codes. There is no need for hidden bank accounts. Most of the The healthiest couples have an understood rule that secrets will not invade the marriage. This type of secrecy, no matter what form it comes in destroys intimacy. Separation and divorce are soon around the corner. In order for your marriage to thrive, do not keep secrets and lies.
There is effective listening and open communication. If one does not understand what the other is saying or asking, there is the attempt to ask for clarification. Your partner wants to get it right and really hear effectively what you said and not what they made up about what was said. To hold the space is to be there and not fix your partners problems. To just allow the time and space your spouses needs no matter how long it takes.
How honest when you partner does not try to assume to have all of the answers. Mutual respect and ongoing support is given to each other. There is no room for codependent behavior. We no longer, like many of our parent’s marriages, find the need to fix, control or tell each other how to handle the issue or situation your partner is experiencing. You recognize that that is only your conditioning and anxiety springing forth.
If you see the benefits of the above qualities of a good marriage then start the work to get on track. Rediscover or discover who you are. In doing so you then can have a deeper understanding of who your partner really is. Seek both couples counseling and individual counseling today and let’s start this journey together.