Learn Skills to Keep Your Marriage Healthy and Heal Wounds When They Do Occur
Our sense of place in the world is based on the different roles we play: mother, father, sister, brother, child, parent, employee, and employer, among others. Being part of a married couple, our role of “spouse,” is one of the most significant: that role allows us to create meaning and harmony in our lives. The quality of our emotional life within marriage colors the way we interact with the world.
Happy Marriages are Good for You!
- Researchers have found that a happy marriage can decrease your chances of getting sick by 35 percent.
- A happy marriage reduces emotional wear and tear on the mind and body, which can add an average of four years to your life.
- Happily wedded couples experience fewer physical ailments such as high blood pressure and heart disease; fewer emotional ailments such as anxiety and depression, and have fewer episodes of violence, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Characteristics of a Happy Marriage
Happily married couples have emotionally intelligent marriages. They emphasize their positive thoughts over the negative ones. They use the valuable skills of effective communication and emotional literacy.
- They honor their partner’s world with understanding and respect.
- They turn towards each other, rather than away, and have learned healthy conflict behaviors.
- They are flexible.
- They share stories, memories, and dreams, which help, create shared meaning and purpose in the marriage.
Quick Tips for Couples
1) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
2) Manage Your Emotions
3) Use “I” Statements
4) Speak Non-defensively
5) Empathize and Validate your Partners Thoughts and Feelings
6) Value the Sense of Togetherness
7) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
8) Understand Yourself and Your Own Feelings
9) Have Fun Together
10) Know When to Get Help
What Couples Can Do to Create Successful, Emotionally Intelligent Marriages.
While marriage is one of the biggest challenges life offers, there are many skills that can be learned to manage disagreements and conflict. For example, understanding the cause of the conflict is a crucial step toward learning how to live with one another while respecting your differences. Experienced mental health professionals, in the following settings, usually teach these skills:
- Individual Counseling can lead to expanded self-awareness, enhance the client’s ability to take increased personal responsibility for their choices and behaviors, and learn more effective life strategies.
- Couples Counseling provides opportunities for learning to successfully negotiate conflict, create shared meaning through dialogue, and increase the couple’s sense of safety and intimacy with one another.
- Couples Workshops provide a time-limited laboratory for jointly learning more about the stages of marital relationships, why we choose the partners we do, and how marriage can enhance our personal growth over time. Through these interventions, people learn to:
• Provide acknowledgment
• Engage in daily dialogue
• Listen to understand without judgment
• Agree to disagree with respect
• Seek solutions without blame
• Express themselves honestly and assertively without attacking.