Making Your Marriage Last A failing marriage can be avoided by following some simple rules. BY BOB LIVINGSTONE, LCSW
Marriage is a constantly changing institution that you need to pay attention to for it to work.
Today, marriage is an institution that is suffering in America. One out of two marriages ends up in divorce. Why does this phenomena occur so frequently?
There are many reasons, such as unrealistic expectations of marriage. Or, one partner will be desperate for their mate to fill up the emptiness inside them. It doesn't take long to discover that one person cannot complete another. It is up to each individual to become whole.
Other couples have an unclear attraction to each other and they soon find out that they don't have anything in common. This leads to either an ending of the relationship or a continuance of a very unsatisfactory one.
Many couples are too busy with jobs and children to spend quality time together. This can lead to a drifting apart and increased difficulty in communicating.
Failing marriages can be avoided, however. In the early stage of your marriage, you need to be clear about why you want to be together. Getting married because others expect it of you is not a good reason to do so. Planning to live with a partner the rest of your life because you love them and they give you joy is the most important issue to consider here.
Take the following steps during the beginning stages of your marriage:
1. Make sure that you have many things in common with your partner. 2. Make sure that you have similar values. 3. Take the risk to talk about problematic issues in your relations. 4. Spend time communicating on a regular basis. 5. Make sure that you are physically, emotionally and intellectually attracted to your partner. 6. Accept that you will have conflict in your marriage and develop a means for working through and resolving conflict.
Here are ways to make your marriage work after the early stages:
1. Plan your life goals together. Do you want to make your mark on the world? How do you want to do that? How can your partner support you? 2. Acknowledge and share your feeling of love and appreciation for your partner. 3. Understand their will be times during the course of your marriage where your partner will get on your nerves. 4. Understand that the deepness of your love can give your life great meaning. 5. Understand that you will go through crises together and standing up for your partner is one of the most important tasks you will ever complete. 6. If your marriage feels flat, talk to your partner about it and, if necessary, seek out counseling. 7. Understand that life is always changing and it is important for you as a couple to grow together.
Psychotherapist Bob Livingstone has helped millions heal their emotional pain during the past twenty years. He has been instrumental in assisting victims of emotional and/or physical violence recover from trauma and no longer be victims. He is a featured contributor to DrLaura.com, Beliefnet.com, Ediets.com, Selfgrowth.com and SheKnows.com. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain Through Exercise (Pegasus Books, Sept. 2007). For more emotional healing visit www.boblivingstone.com.