When I meet new clients, I ask questions that signal to me whether their marriage enjoys some of the 5 secrets of happily married couples. They are the clues that help me determine what needs fixing and what looks really good.
The key to a strong marriage is to place more importance on it. Make it number one. The relationship comes above work. It comes before children. The marriage trumps friends, and it tops families of origin. Happily married couples go out together, often, without their children. They don’t always need the company of a buffer couple to make their evening fun.
A respect for the individual is key. The best relationships are those made of two complete people. It’s unhealthy to think that you need another person to make you feel complete. Further, It’s a burden to your partner. Couples who have a strong partnership go to each other, first, for advise, and for comfort. Neither person is ever offended if their advise is not followed. They are each others go-to person. Equal responsibility of household maintenance and kids is a foregone conclusion. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bridal-guide/20-secrets-of-happily-married-couples_b_8638574.html No one asks what needs to be done. Instead, they are already aware of how the household machine works because they co-planned the blueprint. They see what needs to be done. And they do it. No badges required. In a strong and loving partnership, I don’t see any martyrdom. I see compromise. No sacrifice. No whining. Just ownership. An authentic desire for mutual happiness drives a strong partnership.
Happily married couples are each other’s best friends. They tend to eat together. Common interests are shared. They do errands together rather than splitting up the To Do list. Most importantly, they usually go to bed at the same time. http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/surprising-marriage-advice/ Couples who go to bed at the same time make love far more often than those who do not. When they don’t make love, they share thoughts instead. Or read together in the same bed. To me, it is an indication they just want to be together. Many unhappily married couples go to bed at different times on purpose. They are avoiding intimacy. Not a good sign. Lastly, happily married couple, with children, have a lock on the bedroom door. And they use it.
Especially relevant, the word “divorce” is never be mentioned by those who enjoy a bulletproof relationship. It’s a bad idea to send your spouse the message that you are thinking about returning them for a newer model. To enjoy trust, each person needs to know that there is never going to be an exit strategy. The only answer is to work things out. With honesty. Happily married couples replace threats with thoughtfulness and patience. They give each other the benefit of the doubt. And they never lose their sense of proportion. Nor do they ever lose their sense of humor.
Most of all, strong couples know how to listen. They don’t just wait until it is their turn to speak again. These couples genuinely want to hear what their partner wants them to know. They don’t interrupt each other. Persuading and selling each other to get a spouse to see it your way is never a good idea. Your partner has a right to his or her opinion. And so do you. Two opinions, with respect, can live together comfortably. The secret of a happily married couple is to accept each other, with no desire to change each other. Strong couples accept each other’s differences.