5 Secrets to a Happier Marriage
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
1. Small Things Often
If marriage is a journey, then it’s important that you’re oriented in the right direction. It’s way easier to make small efforts as you go than a major course correction when it may be too late. Small changes early and often can create big changes over time. Prioritize practical expressions of kindness daily. It’ll help you remember that you like each other.
2. Process is Everything
The end of therapy is when the couple can process the relationship without the therapist. This means that couples need to focus on HOW they talk to one another matters far more than WHAT they say. Process basically consists of knowing (a) what you’re feeling (b) why you’re feeling it and (c) what that feeling means. As you develop this skill, you will dramatically shift the quality of conversation in your relationship.
3. Most Relational Conflict is Not Resolvable
Research revealed that roughly ⅔ of all relationship conflict is perpetual .This can be good news or bad news depending on how you look at it. My bias is that it’s a powerful secret to know that you literally can’t solve most of your issues...and that you’re not alone in that fact. The goal then is to solve your solvable problems and create dialogue around your lasting issues.
4. Understanding Must Precede Advice
Especially when it comes to perpetual issues, it’s critical to understand that “solving” is a bad strategy. Empathy and understanding is always the first step to resolution. Get really good at saying, “I can appreciate how you’d feel that way because…”. Start by trying to understand. Check if you got it right. Then try to understand some more. Understanding leads to safety. When you and your partner both feel safe enough to discuss your differing views on an issue, it opens up the door to creative problem solving together.
5. You Don’t Have to Have High Standards
Seven Principles. Five Secrets. It’s a lot to remember. The good news is that you can start anywhere. Anytime. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. But there’s no reason it shouldn’t be today. Try a small act of kindness. Maybe a surprise gift. Maybe just say “thank you”. Other research revealed that even the simplest gesture can initiate a positive feedback cycle which builds trust and intimacy and, ultimately, happiness.