Top 10 Ways to Embark on a Stronger Marriage

October 25th, 2010

Dear Dr. Liz:

Well, the countdown is approaching fast! Two more weeks and my finance’  and I will be “husband and wife.” Are there any concrete suggestions you can give us to hang on to so we can have a little more peace of mind going into this large abyss? There is so much information out there that we can’t digest it all. We feel we have made a great choice in each other…know we just want to know how to make it the best marriage possible!

Lyndie

Dear Lyndie~

I know what you mean about the difficulty in sorting through the mass amount of marital information and advice. There are more tips and research available to us today than ever before. It’s an exciting time for building a successful marriage because we can learn to do it right. Simple and concrete steps are neatly noted in the below top-10 list from Michele Weiner-Davis.  Keep it handy as you embark on this wonderful joint adventure!

Love,

Dr. Liz

  1. Spend Time Together: The number one cause of marital breakdown is not making the relationship a top priority. Time-starved marriages are at risk of divorce because partners stop being friends.
  2. Have Sex: Why would we not?! Sexual intimacy is one of the most important connections in marriage. Work hard to keep the passion alive. Desire is a decision.
  3. Touch: Show affection in and out of the bedroom. Hold hands. Cuddle. Sit together on the couch, in church, and over coffee or hot chocolate!
  4. Flirt: How did the two of you interact when you first started dating? Revisit the pet names and the small flirtations that kept the fire stoked and see how hot the fires burn, again.
  5. Talk Frequently: Don’t let a day go by without knowing the details of at least one important thing that happened to your partner that day. Don’t shut down when you are hurt; keep the lines of communication open at all times regarding all issues.
  6. Give Compliments: Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? Make a concerted effort to give sincere compliments to your spouse EVERY SINGLE DAY! Appreciation leads to resiliency in marriage.
  7. Take a Marriage Class: Who taught us how to do this thing called “marriage,” anyway? Learn the skill sets that lead to staying in love….it’s not a feeling it’s a behavior!
  8. Handle Conflicts Constructively: Avoiding conflict is not the answer. Conflict is inevitable; but it is not inevitably destructive. Arguments get out of hand when parties feel misunderstood and invalidated. Learn how to do it right!
  9. Focus on the Positives: Whatever we focus on grows! Commit to seeing what’s right with your partner. Dr. John Gottman, premiere marital researcher, concluded that positives must outweigh negative 5:1, in order for a marriage to be successful. Divorcing couples have a ratio closer to 1:1
  10. Do Real Giving: Real giving is giving to your partner what he or she interprets wants and needs. Give without understanding why a particular thing is important to your spouse; just give it and get an appreciative, happy lover!