Unfortunately, there aren’t many classes in high school or college that teach us how to be successful in long-term relationships and divorce is common. That’s regrettable, because a fulfilling relationship can contribute so much toward enjoying a happy and successful life.
There are many things you can do to strengthen your marriage and help make it last until death do you part. If you want to have the best chance of marital success, it’s a wise idea to learn some of these strategies.
Researchers have shared these tips on how to strengthen marriages and make them last:
Strategy 1: Have realistic expectations. It’s easy to make it through the initial stages of a relationship when everything is new and exciting. But those annoying little habits aren’t quite as cute and endearing ten years into the future. A relationship requires work and energy to grow and thrive.
Strategy 2: Become good at saying “I’m sorry.” Despite your best efforts, you’ll make mistakes in your marriage. Studies have shown that the people slowest to apologize are the ones most likely to stay single or get divorced.
- Sometimes you have to decide if you’d rather be correct or happy. Be strong enough to say you’re sorry and move on.
Strategy 3: It’s okay to argue in a respectful way. The presence of arguing in a relationship doesn’t affect its success as much as how a couple argues. One psychologist claims a 95% success rate for predicting which relationships would fail just by listening to an argument for five minutes!
- The four factors that make all the difference when you argue are: contempt, defensiveness, criticism, and withdrawing. Avoid these behaviors and your marriage is more likely to survive.
Strategy 4: Laugh together. Remember the good times you’ve shared. Talk about and relive them. Reminiscing about fun times helps keep couples together.
- Consider creating some happy, new memories and remind your partner about the great times you’ve already enjoyed. Laughing together strengthens your marriage!
Strategy 5: You need five good times for each bad one. Research has shown that marriages require at least five positive interactions for each negative one. What is a good interaction? A fun afternoon, a positive conversation, or a good hug. You know what a negative interaction is.
Strategy 6: You can complain but try to avoid criticizing. If your partner’s behavior is bothering you, it’s okay to point it out and ask them to stop. But avoid attacking your partner. You can say, “It drives me crazy when you throw your dirty socks all over the floor.” But avoid saying, “You’re such a slob. What’s your problem?”
- Most people can accept that they might be doing something bothersome. However, that’s different from being personally attacked.
A happy marriage is important for you and your children (if you have or plan to have children). There are times when we all have to put our own needs aside and do whatever we can to strengthen our relationships. These tips will help you work toward a happy partnership as you give your marriage the time and attention it deserves.