It may seem surprising, but in studying the past 144 years of marriage in the United States, the divorce rate is down. That sounds promising, but the numbers still seem to be at around 50%.
Do too many couples fall into a rut, give up, have unrealistic expectations, and drift into the point-of-no-return? Before that unwanted possibility occurs, there are proven ways to keep your marriage from ending. And, you can keep it together happily! Here are some pointers for marriage longevity.
It’s common to come home from work and start moaning. Sometimes, we get lax with our partners and, without thinking, we moan about them or their behavior. Venting is one thing, but complaining can be harmful.
Communicating directly with your spouse is the key. No one is a mind reader. When addressing concerns, do not criticize. Most of the time, we are trying our best. Instead, offer solutions and encourage more positive, alternate behaviors
Never (or try your best never to): name-call, belittle, disrespect, nag, withdraw, withhold sex, or get defensive. When your partner voices his/her feelings about something you’ve done, instead of reacting quickly, try to absorb the information. Look within and see if the allegation is accurate.
f so, maybe you’ll need to apologize. Or, maybe you’ll need to express “why” you do certain things you do. Either way, becoming defensive and shutting down helps no one.
Responding with, “You’re a jerk!” or “You’re a ….(anything)” should always be off-limit vocals. Name-calling is damage that may not be easily repaired, if at all. These are challenging, but you can do it—ummmm—not do it!
Always (or most of the time) say sorry, laugh, be “us” not just “I” and “you”, reminisce happily, don’t take yourself too seriously, agree to disagree, move-on after serious discussions, and bond physically.
Remembering that you’re a team helps you both feel supported. Yes, you have individual needs, but in order to work together there will be constant give-and-take—and you must be willing to implement that.
Keeping romance alive is essential. Even when one partner is not “in the mood” help him/her feel connected to you emotionally and physically. Watch how the mood will transform. Finally, set a shared goal or interest, giving you something to pursue together. This can last for a while. When you’ve met your goal, create a new one together.
One prominent psychiatrist, who’s been married for 46 years, suggests going to couples’ counseling every once in a while. Even if things “seem” OK, there may hidden resentments or issues that one or both partners are not discussing.
He likens counseling to a tune-up for a car. A marriage requires maintenance the way a vehicle does—check-in, see what’s needed, what (behaviors) can be replaced, etc. A solid marriage should be able to withstand counseling sessions every so often.
If you still love your spouse, it’s absolutely possible to like them again and move forward to make more fantastic memories. In many cases, spouses claim that working out their relationship over the years allows them to love each other even more.