Marital Advice That Makes Sense
If you are confused by all the marital advice floating around on the internet and during talk shows today, you are not alone. It seems like everyone is an expert. Some well-known marriage therapists have been married (and divorced!) 2-3 times or more. With that type of track record, it seems as though they might know what doesn’t work but haven’t quite discovered what does work. At the other extreme, you have experts who give marriage advice even though they have never been married themselves.
While there is no lack of “experts” giving out marital advice, I prefer to go to the real experts: couples who have been married happily for decades. Whenever I see a silver-haired couple who still look at each other like newlyweds, I wonder just what is the secret of their success? After doing some research, I discovered some advice for marriage from longtime couples.
Here are some of the principles that long term couples credit for helping them stay happily married:
Failure is Not an Option: Couples in successful marriages are without a doubt committed to their union. They take very seriously their marriage vows and don’t entertain thoughts that perhaps they would be happier elsewhere. Divorce simply isn’t a part of their vocabulary. And when you realize that you are with someone for better or worse, ‘til death do you part, you become very serious about cultivating a harmonious household atmosphere.
Common Spirituality: Most successful couples share a common spiritual background or value system. The old saying, “The family that prays together, stays together” holds true in a marriage as well. Christian marriage counseling often stresses the importance of attending worship services together to help mend broken marriages. No matter what spiritual beliefs a couple has, having a shared goal or passion can help to unite them.
Mutual Respect: You don’t have to agree with your spouse all the time, but it is important to respect their opinion. One key to a lasting marriage is accepting and understanding your differences. That means never dismissing your spouse’s feelings or concerns, even if they seem silly to you.
Ongoing Intimacy: Even older couples agree that intimacy in a marriage is important. And unlike other marital advice that would have you do calisthenics in the bedroom, real couples say that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. The idea that marital intimacy must be constantly new and exciting is overrated. What is important is that each spouse takes the time to meet the other’s needs. And that means taking your affection out of the bedroom too – physical contact such as non-sexual hugs, kisses and caresses help spouses maintain a bond throughout the day.
One Marriage, Two People: Perhaps one piece of marital advice that might surprise younger couples is that a happy marriage does not involve two people being joined at the hip constantly. While you should beware of the trap of becoming “married singles” in which you both lead separate lives, you should also avoid co-dependency. Older couples not only share activities and hobbies, but they also nurture their individual passions as well. Sometimes, the best marital advice for how to save a marriage is to recognize that you are each individuals who need your own breathing space. Suffocating your spouse by demanding their full attention 24/7 can quickly turn a happy marriage into a nightmare situation.
Communicate Your Needs: Don’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Longtime couples aren’t afraid to get right to the point. If they are overwhelmed with the kids and housework, they ask for help directly. Their marital advice is not to hint at what you want or dance around the subject. At the same time, be respectful of your spouse when making requests. Accusing your husband of being a boorish slob doesn’t help the situation when a simple, “Honey, can you please help me by putting your dirty clothes in the hamper” works just as well.
Have Fun: Yes, marriage is hard work and yes, it can be difficult at times. But remember, you married this person because you love them – because you enjoy their company and they make you smile. Don’t ever stop having fun with them! Successful couples find that laughter is indeed the best medicine. When they discover they have been driving in circles for 30 minutes, they find the humor in the situation instead of blowing up at each other. If you want to know how to save a marriage, learning not to take life too seriously is some of the best marital advice you can get.
Marital advice comes from all sources. One great source for finding the secrets of a long, happy marriage is those couples who are living a successful marriage day in and day out. Another valuable resource is someone who has devoted lots of time helping people save their marriages. One such person is Amy Waterhouse, creator of the home study course called “Save My Marriage Today”. Over the years Amy has helped thousands of men and women fix their marriages and unhappy relationships. Her course is full of sound marital advice for couples everywhere.