Making Marriage Work
Struggling in your marriage? Not sure how to fix your communication problems? Tired of being stuck and not knowing how to get unstuck in your marriage? These are all common concerns for couples experiencing difficulties. There is help and a way to get unstuck! As a couples counselor in Utah County, over the years I have help couples find this success many times as they apply certain principles.
Marriage researcher, John Gottman, has found certain principles and developed a model of therapy to help couples find this happiness together. His work is based on researching hundreds of couples. Here are a few things he found that you can try with your spouse:
- ‘Enhancing your love maps’ – Love maps consist of how you understand each other and what you know about your relationship and your spouse. Knowing the intimate details of what your partner likes to do for fun to what stresses them out helps you have a stronger relationship.
- ‘Nurture your fondness and admiration’ – Creating fondness and admiration are crucial to having a long-lasting and satisfying relationship. One thing you are your spouse can do is participate in an activity called, “I appreciate”. This is where you list three or more positive characteristics your spouse has along with an example of each.
- ‘Turn toward each other instead of away’ – Whether this is literal or figurative, turning towards each other helps create an intimacy and healthy dependence on one another. Turning off the TV and listening to your spouse when they say they have had a hard day is a great example of turning toward each other. This might seem simple, but it goes a long way.
- ‘Let your partner influence you’ – Consider what your partner says and how they feel about things. Make decisions together as you discuss both of your points of view. These things will help you develop a strong relationship together.
- ‘Solve your solvable problems’ – Some problems can be solved and other constitute what Gottman would call ‘perpetual problems’. Work on the ones that you can do something about. The solvable problems have a feel to them that they are situational.
- ‘Overcome gridlock’ – What about the perpetual problems? They do seem unsolvable and for a reason! When dealing with these types of problems Gottman teaches that couples must move from gridlock to dialogue. If done right this can be done on your own with your spouse. Many couples find success with a marriage therapist to overcome these problems.
- ‘Creating shared meaning’ – There is so much more than the difficulty of marriage and life that you can share with your spouse. Enjoying life together, even in the smallest way, helps to create meaning that means something to both of you. Dream big and dream together!
This research can be found in John Gottman’s book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Happy marriages don’t happen on accident. It takes time and effort and can be done! In my Provo counseling center, I have found that couples who want to change and be happy can!