You want to have a successful marriage. Maybe you already have a pretty strong foundation and just want to make sure it will stand the test of time. You’re considering pre-marital therapy and want a few tips. Or, perhaps your marriage is struggling. You just want to know what might help turn things around. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been through a recent divorce and are considering dating again but want to know what to look for in a new relationship.
Whatever has brought you to this place, you are now curious. Why some marriages last decades while others barely go two years? What leads to some couples thriving and growing together while others crash and burn?
Marriage & Baking
When you are baking a cake, you can expect to use some common ingredients. There are a million recipes for cake, but you can count on most needing some common ingredients. Perhaps your mind just created a mental picture of flour, eggs and sugar. We expect to see these things in a cake recipe. Similarly, there are certain things we expect to see in a strong marriage.
Similar to with baking….every marriage needs the same three ingredients. As a marriage counselor, I have identified some specific key ingredients that I’ve found in successful marriages. These ingredients are in fact the secret to a happy and successful marriage. Without all three of these, many couples will struggle to remain connected and committed.
Communication is to a marriage what gasoline is to an automobile: without it, you’re not going anywhere. And the better the communication, the longer the “motor” will last. Working on your communication early in a relationship can help prevent problems in your relationship down the road, but it can also be the gasoline that helps restart things in your relationship as well.
The words we use to connect with a spouse or partner are incredibly important. Use the right ones and you generate feelings of love, safety, and security. Use the wrong ones and your partner is apt to feel anger and resentment.
It is often said that HOW you say something is as important as WHAT you say, and in many ways, this is true. This is especially true when it comes to communication in a marriage.
When you ask your spouse a question, is their answer thoughtful or dismissive? Do they say, “Yes, that sounds like a great plan,” or “Whatever?” Both are affirmative, but they have a very different feel to them.
As a marriage counselor, I’ve found that perhaps the most important factor of good communication is active listening. It’s hard to always be a good listener. We live in a world where multi tasking is normal. And many times, you might be tired by the end of the day when you see your spouse. However, tuning in and actively listening can have a huge impact on your interaction with your partner!
How exactly do you become a good listener? The best way to start is to focus on being mindful of conversations. When your spouse is speaking, don’t think about other things. Don’t think about your day or what you’d like to have for dinner. Don’t even think about how you’d like to respond to what your partner is saying, simply LISTEN to them. When your mind returns to that difficult day you had at work, simply redirect yourself back to what your spouse is saying. Give them your full attention.
The better listeners and communicators you spouses become, the better partners you can be to each other.
Know Yourself and Your Partner
The sad fact is, most people spend more time trying to understand how their smartphone or tablet works than how their own personality – or that of their partner -works. We’re all individuals with unique quirks and behaviors. Try to reconnect with your partner by trying something new together or asking the other person open ended questions. Challenge yourself to learn something new about your spouse every day for a week. Even though you’ve known each other for years, research has shown it’s important to keep connecting, learning and growing together. The more we understand about ourselves and our spouse, the less conflict we’ll experience.
Put Your Spouse First
Happy and successful marriages are the ones where each person is putting their partner’s needs first. When both are doing this, all needs are being met. Problems come up quickly when only one individual meets their partner’s needs. While one person is happy, the other is left out in the cold. Through my work as a marriage counselor, I’ve watched couples reconnect and heal even serious tears in a relationship by prioritizing their marriage and relationship. Through couples counseling, I can help you begin to cultivate that love you once shared. Together, we can find ways to bring your marriage back into the center of your life so you can reconnect and grow stronger together.
Marriage Counseling in Cincinnati, OH
If, after reading this, you have become aware that your marriage is missing some of these critical ingredients, you can still make a change. Don’t be afraid to seek help from a skilled marriage counselor. Sometimes an impartial third party can help both individuals get their priorities on the same page. I love helping couples work to find a new way forward in their relationship in my Cincinnati, OH counseling office. I have years of experience helping couples find healing and bring romance back into their marriage through couples and marriage therapy. If you are ready to take the next step towards a happier, healthier marriage, contact me today to learn more about how therapy can help!
Other Counseling Services
In addition to working with couples on their relationships, I support clients who are managing a variety of issues. This may include mental health services for college students, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, and career guidance. If you or someone you know is considering beginning counseling in the Cincinnati area, contact me today.