Ingredients of a Marriage That’s for Keeps

What makes a marriage last? Although there are no cut-and-dried formulas to a happy, successful marriage, there are common characteristics that are found in happy unions, ones that stand the test of time.

Here are some ingredients that make for happy, lasting marriages:
–  Communication. The ingredient of communication is key to a successful union. No one is a mind reader and a spouse cannot expect his or her partner to know what is in his or her mind, what his or her needs and wants are. Communication leads to a deeper understanding of the other spouse. In that way, issues are resolved and expectations clarified. Sometimes, couples find it hard to effectively communicate because of past experiences and family background. It may take some couples counseling in Provo to get equipped with effective communication skills and to identify responses and actions that hinder communication.
–  Clear expectations on each other’s roles. Spouses often have clear expectations of the roles they play in the family. This applies to responsibilities in finances (Who pays for what? Will one spouse stay at home with the kids or will both spouses work?), child-rearing, household chores and dealing with in-laws. Conflicts can easily arise when one’s expectations in the relationship are not met by the other spouse (who may not have a clue about the expectations in the first place). Sometimes, Utah marriage counseling may be needed to help you establish clear role expectations for each spouse.
–  A friendship. Not only are they lovers but also friends, partners that have a deep-rooted friendship. This means that they can enjoy each other’s company, even without the sex or physical intimacy. As good friends, they remain loyal to each other. They refuse to accept attacks on their spouse; rather, they defend him or her. They are also able to be emotional intimate and open with their spouse – to show their trust for partner and be completely themselves when they are with him or her. As friends, they share and keep each other’s secrets.
–  Shared vision and goals. A healthy union tends to have shared visions and goals – as to which path they will take, what goals to pursue, what values to hold on to.
–  A sense of humor. The ability to laugh with each other even (or especially) during hard times is what can strengthen the bond that couples have, making them the soul mates they are meant to be. Shared laughter can build a relationship in a way that other experiences can’t.
–  Respect. A long-lasting couple recognizes and cherishes each other’s intrinsic worth as individuals. This means that the other partner is worth their time and effort, the partner is not someone to be taken for granted but given honor and special attention.  This also means respecting each other’s space, respecting healthy boundaries in the relationship and not forcing personality changes on your partner.
–  Physical intimacy. Happy couples feel the need for physical closeness. More than sexual intimacy, this also includes the need to touch and be touched. Couples with lasting marriages tend to desire to keep a physical connection – to hug, cuddle, kiss or hold hands. There are also clear expectations in the area of sex, considering the partner’s needs and preferences. Usually, married couples will have tacit or implicit agreements of sexual fidelity.
–  Humility. Long-lasting couples don’t let pride get in the way. They are ready to say sorry when they are wrong. They are ready to forgive when the other spouse apologizes. They are also able to accept loving and constructive criticism. They are also willing to grow together as a couple.
–  Know how to fight fairly. It is important to recognize that happy couples are not the ones that never fight – rather, they fight and argue, but do so fairly. This means no “below the belt” tactics such as name calling or using hurtful words. Rather, the two have an agreement to be willing to talk it out until the issue is resolved.
–  Willingness to make compromises. Happy couples know the art of give and take. It is not letting the other always get their way.
–  Willingness to ask for help. It is important to acknowledge that there may be challenges in a marriage that cannot be surmounted by just the couple. There may be the need to seek the help of Provo marriage counseling.

The challenge is to look into your marriage and commit to developing these characteristics. With the help and guidance of family counseling in Provo, a marriage can grow into a happy and long-lasting union. Utah counseling can help establish healthy relationships that can be the foundation of a happy, long-lasting marriage.

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