What makes a good marriage?
What makes a healthy marriage last?
This is a fantastic question. In one sentence, I would say the following:
- Recognize that while you and your partner probably have common interests and areas of commonality, you are separate people, each with different wants, wishes, and desires – if you consider a diagram of two overlapping circles, they may share perhaps a third of the circle with overlap to indicate commonality (could be more or less) and then there are parts of the circles that are not overlapping, indicating separate interests
As for ways that may strengthen any relationship, even the great ones, this is what came to mind. There are certainly more specific unique answers or elements for different people as far as the details, but here are some general ideas:
- Try to have at least 15 minutes a week where you are spending time together and not problem-solving
- Realize that listening to your partner does not mean that you are agreeing with them, it just means that you are saying that you hear where they are coming from
- Learn to hold on to your own wants, wishes, and desires while also recognizing those of your partner
- Set boundaries for what is and isn't acceptable behavior during an argument or difficult discussion
- Discuss how having important discussions can be anxiety-producing and consider having an understanding that if one of you (or both of you) feels overwhelmed, you can take a timeout for a certain amount of time. For example, you may say "okay, I'm feeling really stressed about this right now. Let's discuss it in an hour." And at that time, go back to the discussion
- Consider what your partner's top three or four complaints about you may be. Check in with them and see how accurate you are. If you see validity in their responses, consider whether or not you may want to make changes
- Discover what makes your partner feel loved, valued, appreciated, or special
Relationships are always in progress and constantly changing. Some anxiety around change is typical. Being able to effectively discuss the anxiety and actually listen to one another without being defensive, name calling, finger-pointing, or asking each other to change is a true gift.
You may enjoy this quote: "Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment." ~Brene Brown
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What a great question! Marriage (or any long-term committed romantic relationship) is never easy. Ups & downs, doubts and fights are a part of it just the same as the wonderful, tender, blissful moments of connection. Recognizing that hardships are normal and something to work through is a big part of the healthy attitude partners in lasting relationships share. Some degree of conflict is not something to be scared of or a sign it's time to break up as long as all parties involved feel respected. Expressing your needs and wants in a respectful, not accusing manner will increase the chances that your loved one will actually listen, empathize with your perspective and will be more open to finding solutions to your problems together. Working as a team to find solutions to problems you encounter is a much better approach than trying to persuade your partner that you are right, while they are most certainly wrong. Shutting your partner out or allowing resentment and contempt to creep into your relationships is definitely a warning sign that things may not be going the way you want anymore. As long as you both agree that you want to be in that relationship (i.e., are committed to it) and you have a growth mindset ("we will learn from this and grow together to be a better couple in the end"), the foundation of your partnership is strong. What else? Making time for each other, whether it's being playful, having fun or enjoying intimate moments together is also an important part of ensuring a good balance of positive to negative experiences, that will only strenghten your bond. Good luck!
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In addition to suggesting this great read from 2016 (but feels timeless):
I will give my summary on what the author of the article is speaking to: don't get too comfortable. But, in truth, no one really has the answer to your question, otherwise wouldn't we all have a "good" marriage? Also, what even is a "good marriage?" What is it that YOU want from a marriage, a relationship, a partner, and what your other-half also wants for themselves, is going to be what defines all of this, because every relationship is different.
And in answering that "what YOU want" question, you might actually stumble upon what would make for a healthy relationship: vulnerability. You will have to be vulnerable to be able to explore what you really want, and listen to what your partner really wants, as that kind of processing can be uncomfortable. But, with vulnerability comes intimacy, and in most opinions, there is much of a relationship if there isn't much intimacy.
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In my mind, a healthy marriage has two participants, meaning both people participate equally in the intimate connection of marriage. An unequal participation comes in many forms, such as one person checking out of conversations when it becomes emotional, or speaking over and for each other in these conversations. Couple’s should strive for engagement and support, but doing it in a way that works for each person individually. I hope this helps.
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I appreciate your question.
The answer of what makes a "good marriage" are as varied as there are marriages.
Basically, similarity, like mindedness in beliefs and values, makes a good marriage.
The best chance of getting along with someone on a longterm basis is when two people see life and the world in similar ways.
Even though "opposites attract" this is a short lived dynamic which breaks apart when there aren't enough similarities in common between the partners.
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This answer varies based on you relationship. However, I do believe their are some basic fundamental areas that are beneficial for a healthy marriage:
1.) Effective Communication
5.) Unconditional Positive Regard.
Everyone has their favorite qualities they feel best fit a marriage. However, these are what I think are great starting points.
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