The Secret to a Good Marriage
By Dr. Brad Schwall, Executive Director, Pastoral Counseling Center
Attraction and connection grow as we get to know each other while dating and in the early stages of our relationships. During the honeymoon phase of our relationships, we spend time getting to know each other. As time goes by (i.e. we get old), we change. We have to get to know each other again. Getting to know each other is an ongoing process. We have to stay up-to-date on who our spouse is.
The secret to a good marriage is that your spouse's thoughts, feelings, goals, needs, and wants are not secrets to you. If you don't give attention to the other seeking to know the other, you lose your connection.
- Do you know your spouse's goals for the future?
- Do you know your spouse's main worries?
- Do you know what your spouse wants and needs?
We can get to know each other in simple ways every day:
- Talk to each other 15 minutes a day - this may not seem like a long time, but how much do you spend really talking to your spouse each day?
- When talking about frustrations about work or other stressors, take your spouse's side to show your care and support for him or her
- Make sure you have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction
- If you have kids, don't talk only about your kids
When we know each other and feel supported by each other, our conflicts are manageable. If we feel heard and understood, we can come to compromise and forgiveness faster.
Knowing your spouse also involves knowing yourself. Know your goals so you can share them. Know your needs so that you can communicate them. Share who you are and listen and seek to understand who your spouse is and you will strengthen your commitment and deepen your closeness no matter how long you've been married.