Eleven Points For A Better Marriage

  1. Commitment: Give 100% effort toward the relationship. Don't take it for granted or abandon it. Promote your relationship first over all. Save the best of yourself for your spouse. Don't compromise the boundaries of your relationship or devalue your spouse in your mind. Rather, remember and renew what you had when you first fell in love.
  2. Take time to maintain your marriage. Having a good marriage is a daily decision. Take time to work out problems and take time to have fun together. Talk with your spouse daily and go out together at least once a week. Spend less time on achieving and acquiring and more time on "playing together".
  3. Listen to your spouse's inner experience and feelings. Then you will discover the real issues. Listen to their "child part". Listen for what is not being said. Listen for what is right with the other person's communication, not what is wrong. Your spouse knows more about you than anyone else in the world.
  4. Communicate your needs. Learn to talk it out without anger, withholding or detaching. Stay present focused and solution focused. Share your "soft" side of needs and wants as opposed to the "hard" criticisms and demands. Use the form, "When you…I feel…therefore…"
  5. Accept and respect your spouse rather than trying to control or change them. Blame is counterproductive. What you hate in your spouse is usually what you hate in yourself or relates to some quality you find missing in yourself. Fights resolve when you are on the same side, the same team. Know your spouse's sensitivities and be gentle in those areas. Let your spouse "get away with" idiosyncrasies and imperfections.
  6. Act, don't react. Be in charge of your own behavior. Take time out rather than saying the wrong thing. Ask yourself how you are responsible for the other's behavior. Be ready to help your spouse change rather than to criticize. The only way to change the material relationship is to change the "martial formula" by what you put into it.
  7. Encourage the positives, the change and improvements in your spouse. There should be at least three "positives" for every criticism.
  8. Vulnerability. The sign of emotional scarring is the unwillingness to be vulnerable. The joy of intimacy is only found when vulnerable. Allowing your vulnerability can be strong, not weak, and is actually a more powerful stance when working out your relationship.
  9. Balance closeness and distance, roles, and personal qualities. Don't be one-sided which forces your spouse to "play out" the other side. "Own" your other side. Balance the power in the relationship. Without equal power and equal respect, working out the relationship will not get off the ground.
  10. Perspective. Developing perspective allows us to stand back from ourselves and see the big picture. Marriage is not easy. It is a discipline for one's pruning and growth. Love is something higher than the romantic; it is a journey to finding your whole self.
  11. Consider outside help. Most marriages can be saved if the problems are addressed soon enough. Sorting out marital problems can be difficult and may require expert intervention
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