Avoid the Marriage Pitfalls
Too often we hear the same marriage woes. Every couple, no matter how long you’ve been married, needs to be active in keeping their marriage interactive and fresh. Here are five “pitfalls” and how to overcome them to avoid marriage trouble and enhance your partnership.
- You’ve got to talk – So you think you know your partner’s reaction to everything? Think again. The more you assume, the more you’ll drift apart. From the most mundane conversations like “What did you do during your lunch break?” to “How will we make ends meet this month” show your spouse you care, even about the little things. It’s not only important to ask the questions but listen to the answers as well. Poor communication is the most common complaint among couples seeking counseling. A recent survey the Institute initiated also showed that communication issues are the most important thing people wish they had focused on before their marriage. Marriage communication is obviously a critical and often challenging dynamic in a marriage. Visit Mastering Communication and Tips for Talking for more information.
- Take some time – Whether you’ve been married for 1 year or 30 years, your partner will always appreciate a heartfelt thank you, a card out of the blue, or an unexpected phone call to say “I am thinking of you.” Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed up and go on a date. Take a minute, literally, and call your significant other to set a date and time. You’d be surprised how good you’ll feel doing it AND how happy they’ll feel that you’ve called.
- Fight fair – Couples can fight over everything, from what to have for dinner to what you didn’t do today (that was suppose to have been done weeks ago). Remember that each of us, even those who are “happily” married, can have frustrating, hectic days- that goes for CEO’s of a company to the CEO of the household. No matter what the disagreement, resist bringing up the one (or few) words that will send them over the edge. Once you’ve gone that far you’ve gone too far. Take a break, cool down. Revisit the discussion when you’re clear on what you want to say and open to listening to your spouse’s perspective.
- Maintain Expectations – Many people enter marriage with preconceived expectations of what life will be like or the roles both partners will play in daily life. Sometimes these expectations aren’t met and the disappointment and frustration can build into resentment. It is best to discuss your respective expectations and to voice any concerns you have about the direction of the marriage or the role each partner is playing in maintaining the household. Visit Tips for Talking for helpful advice on having productive conversations on sensitive subjects.
- The roller coaster – Just as you have good days and bad days, so can your marriage. There will be days, weeks and even months where you’ll feel you’ve got the best partnership going – then your spouse lays one on you. It is true that working through hard times together can deepen the bond of your union. If you are seeking marriage help, there are marriage retreats and trained marriage counselors. For resources that provide support, visit Revitalize Your Marriage & Celebrating Special Moments
- Money troubles – Did you know that 43% of all couples fight over money issues, making it the major reason couples fight? If you and your partner handle money differently, and if this is a problem, perhaps you want to visit a financial adviser. There are also plenty of books you can read together on how to manage your money. For more helpful tips, visit Money and Marriage.