Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former dispatcher from North Carolina.
Staying Together After the Wedding
When a couple marries, they make vows and prepare for what they hope will be a time of unequivocal bliss with their partners for decades to come. Without question, making a commitment to a union requires work and sacrifice.
Over time, situations arise that test the couple’s level of enthusiasm and dedication to the ideas and beliefs they hold about their marriage. Nevertheless, couples can navigate these hurdles with understanding and compassion.
The Key Components of a Successful Marriage
A married couple should develop mutual respect—an admiration for each other's characteristics, accomplishments, and abilities. This is not just doing unto each other as each would prefer, but restraint is crucial. At the same time, from this mutual respect, a deep level of trust should eventually reveal its presence in the relationship. Such cohesion doesn’t occur without effort and difficulties.
Yet, I’ve worked with individuals and their partners when implementing rehabilitation services to help them address problems. Also, I’ve counseled couples who needed someone to help them at my church. The one consistent point I found to be true—if these couples had a good foundation in their marriage, they tended to overcome obstacles with success. In addition, they exhibited many of the qualities below in their communication patterns and actions toward one another.
Here are several strategies which could help you keep a strong and healthy marital relationship. My wife and I practice these guidelines daily:
9 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage
- Befriend other married couples: Find couples who are married to spend time with to develop close dependable friendships for when troubles occur. A long-time married couple can be there to help guide the younger couple in the early years of their marriage. An enormous advantage: If both couples have young children, the children will be able to observe good and healthy interactions between adults. Remember: Imitation is a powerful learning tool.
- Share your interests: Everyone is different, and married couples must remember they are individuals agreeing to join together with separate backgrounds and capacities. You may prefer one activity or thing while your spouse does not. Try to bring those interests together: For instance, you may play an instrument and your spouse enjoys singing - Together, you may be able to make beautiful music. Or you may enjoy cooking; treat your spouse to a surprise meal he/she favors.
- Encourage each other: When a crisis erupts, you may have to comfort your spouse. Listen. Give advice if asked. Cheer your partner up by reminding him/her of situations you both have overcome with strength.
- Find time to talk every day: Remember, your marriage is your most important adult relationship. A few minutes of listening sincerely could make a substantial difference in the way your marriage progresses. Some examples of good times to talk include: bedtime, during a meal, or right before/after the workday. You will receive dividends in your relationship over the years by simply asking a question like: “How was your day?”
- Plan time for you and your spouse alone: In order to stay in touch with each other emotionally, plan to do activities you both treasure alone. For example, watching a movie is a good way to have fun and chat afterwards about the film. Visit a museum or go to a concert. Go hiking or camping. Work in the yard or garden – these activities are as diverse as the number of couples on this planet. It’s up to you two.
- Learn how to argue: Disagreements will happen—it’s natural. Pay attention to the problem. Avoid name-calling and blaming. Seek resolutions that benefit you both. Remember: You don’t have to be correct all the time. Consider your spouse’s happiness when you have disputes. Be willing to apologize and ask for and offer forgiveness.
- Let go of the small things: Unless health is involved or there is some other restriction: food options, types of music to enjoy, programs to watch on television—these are not essential topics to make a stand about in the long run. Learn to take turns and share in the small things; or ignore them altogether.
- Focus on the big issues: Quality of life in the marriage helps determine if it will remain successful. Discuss long-term goals and enjoy planning for them, such as for retirement. Balancing family needs, changing income and assets, perception of moral obligations—these are tremendous topics to keep in mind.
- Adjust to changes in the marriage: Realistically, the person you marry will not be the same person in the decades to come. People change and evolve. Disabilities may impact one spouse or both. Jobs can move from one location to another. The list of changing events is numerous. The essential question you need to think about at all times is: Can I handle the best of life and will I be there when the worse of life arrives? Ironically, recognizing circumstances can alter unexpectedly is a fundamental step in strengthening the relationship.
Exploring Reasons for Divorce
Indisputably, divorce may be the ultimate outcome if marital problems are not resolved. Although divorce rates appear to be declining in reporting states, 50 percent appears to be the stubborn statistic at which marriages end in divorce. Incidentally, marriages last about eight years in the United States. In some countries, marriages last longer, but staying together requires flexibility and patience from both people regardless of where they live.
Avoidable Factors Contributing to High Divorce Rates
- Infidelity: When one spouse or both engage in sexual activity outside of the marriage, often the couple splits up because of a feeling that trust and respect has been betrayed. With the spread of internet sites dedicated to allowing people to meet, infidelity is a potential constant source of tension. Cheating is frequently cited as the main reason for divorce.
- Money Troubles: If one spouse misuses financial resources, then continuing cash difficulties can create a desire for separation. Job loss, receiving cash or valuables from a will, or not planning with money can put stress on the marital relationship as well.
- Inequality: Trying to equally divide responsibilities and duties can create havoc in a marriage. An inability to handle power sharing issues lead many couples to divorce. Inequality may also exist in social connections and an over dependence on others thoughts about the marriage.
- Abuse: When spouses engage in physical or verbal abuse, marriage becomes the casualty of such battles. Legal consequences may be a result of fighting to this extent. Not surprisingly, chemical dependency (cocaine, alcohol, heroin, etc.) often have a part in such separations. However, couples can work to avoid these challenges for a long-term caring relationship.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 29, 2018:
Your wisdom of what makes a long enduring marriage is vital for many people. I share your perspective: happiness of a couple is dependent on compromise, negotiations, and plain and simple love. I love the advice you provided, Dream On.
I thank you for dropping by and commenting on my article.
Much respect and admiration from me to a talented, thoughtful, and kind writer and creative soul,
Read More From Pairedlife
DREAM ON on November 28, 2018:
I have been married for 17 years and it seems like yesterday. I agree with all the points you expressed. Communication is the key for us. We talk all the time. If we have a problem we discuss it and find ways to fix it. The important thing is we work on a solution together. It is not uncommon to try something and find out it didn't work. Then we keep trying until we find something that makes us both happy. Thank you for sharing your insight and expertise. Have a sweet relaxing night.
Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 31, 2017:
Thank you, Jo. My wife and I developed our friendship over a long series of joys, tears, failures, successes, and a strong belief in God. She is my best friend.
You are right - a good marriage is a treasure.
Thank you for your positive and encouraging comment.
Happy New Year to you acrss the Blue Ridge.
Looking forward to your next article.
Jo Miller from Tennessee on December 30, 2017:
So much good information in this article, Tim. I was married and divorced earlier in my life and took a long time to remarry. I hope I have learned some of the lessons you provide here. My present marriage is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 02, 2017:
Thank you, Paul. When I was young my dad emphasized to me, "Son, take care of as many dreams as you can before you choose a spouse. In this way, those things will not interfere with taking care of your partner." I followed that advice, waiting until later in life to find someone who had done the same.
Now, we are both older, but we share the love of teaching, counseling, and love for the Creator. She's a photographer; I'm a writer. She likes to cook; luckily, I'm a fan of food. She sings and I play the keyboard. My vision is bad; she can't walk well. I'm her legs and she is my eyes. It works well.
This is no criticism of anyone, it's just what we did.
I've read a few of your articles, Paul. You are in tune with who you are and show through your work you really care for others. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am honored and humbled.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on December 01, 2017:
Thank you for sharing an extremely interesting and useful article. I have been married more than once and I know that my divorce was especially hard for my son. Too often people in their selfishness think more about their personal happiness than that of their children. Sexual compatibility and how people handle this issue is very important for a successful marriage.