You’ve probably heard that marriage requires work, but what does that mean?
What is the work?
Perhaps a better, more helpful way to convey that message would involve specifics: Marriage requires presence. Marriage requires regular communication. Marriage requires both partners to remain actively engaged in each other’s lives, and prioritize their union.
Because, truthfully, a marriage that’s unattended will slowly wilt and begin to die, despite best intentions. A lackluster lifeless marriage is never the dream.
Yet, unfortunately, many couples let their relationship almost flatline before deciding to come to therapy.
Here are some tips on things you and your partner can do to make sure your marriage stays healthy, and never reaches that point to begin with.
Seek Help at the First Sign of Trouble
Trouble in a relationship can be sneaky. There’s the honeymoon phase where you can’t keep your hands off one another, and then slowly that lifts.
Real-life sets in.
For some, trouble looks like each person becoming so busy they slowly begin to drift apart. Intimacy disappears.
If you notice this, or any other form of disconnect, or if the two of you argue frequently – basically if there’s any tension or discord building – the sooner you get help the better.
For many of us, it’s natural when we feel attacked, annoyed, or otherwise disregarded to lash out defensively – and then our partner responds in the same manner, and before you know it, it’s game on.
Feelings get hurt and time and energy wasted.
No matter how you’re programmed to react, focus on being kind.
If your partner’s chewing annoys you, focus on how much you love them.
If you continuously get irritated by how messy they are, let them know how important a tidy clean space is to you before you reach your breaking point.
No matter what the situation, make sure you and your partner make kindness a priority.
Regular communication is hands down one of the most important elements required for a well-functioning relationship.
Share how you’re feeling, ways you’re aspiring to grow. Dip into and discuss your inner world with your partner, and give them the time and space to do the same.
This keeps the two of you from drifting off and reaching the point where you’re essentially strangers who happen to live in the same home and share a bed.
Make sharing quality time that incorporates communication with one another a priority.
Figure Out What the Argument is Really About
When you’re unable to communicate something or don’t share how you truly feel (some people have suppressed their feelings for so long they’re out of touch with their real feelings) resentment and bitterness may leak out in other ways.
You may find yourself arguing about the dishes, but what’s actually underneath all that is the feeling that you’re being ignored as your partner makes time for their friends, and you feel left out.
Be honest with yourself and your partner. What’s really going on? The only way to fix it is to call it out first.
Don’t Say Something’s OK if it Isn’t
This one ties in with the last. Saying you’re okay with something when you’re not is a way of undermining both yourself, and the relationship.
It’s okay to not feel comfortable with something. Boundaries are a good thing. If you’re insecure about something, the best way to work through it is to acknowledge its existence, share how you feel, and go from there.
You are worthy. Your feelings are not meant to be shoved aside, dismissed, invalidated, gaslit by you – or anyone – ever.
Maintain High Standards
Both you and your partner should have high standards for the way you treat one another and yourselves. Don’t tolerate anything less.
Holding each other and the marriage to a high standard preserves integrity and respect. Two fundamental pillars in any successful relationship.
Focus on the Positive
Dr. Gottman asserts that for every negative scenario, happy couples need to have at least five positive ones to cancel it out.
Human beings are wired to be more attuned to negative situations, so make an effort to recognize and celebrate the positive.
Because the more you do, and the more you make time for, the more you’ll have to celebrate.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you think your marriage could use some extra support, couples counseling is an excellent resource. At the Relationship Therapy Center, we have two California locations: Roseville CA and Fair Oaks, CA.
We offer both traditional marriage counseling and marriage intensives, which are a great way to get to the meat of an issue ASAP. An excellent option for busy couples who don’t want to waste time getting back on track.
Begin Couples Counseling in the Sacramento Area:
If you are ready to learn how to deal with the problems in your relationship, the therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in Fair Oaks, CA and Roseville, CA can help! Our therapists are ready to support you and your partner in your journey towards creating a healthy and happy relationship. To begin counseling in Roseville, CA area, or counseling in Fair Oaks, please follow these three simple steps:
Contact our counseling office to get more information about couples counseling and to schedule a free consultation,
Make an appointment with one of our Gottman Method trained therapists
Find support and healing in your relationship!
Other Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to couples counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.