Want your marriage to last?
Marriage is never going to be without trouble. No matter how compatible you are, tension is going to rise eventually.
You need to expect it and prepare yourself to deal with it. Learning how to effectively handle conflict in your marriage is probably one of the key factors in determining whether or not it will last.
Couples that can handle stress and arguments avoid building up the negative thought patterns toward their spouse that often lead to break-ups.
Expert Advice on How To Make Your Marriage Last
A lasting marriage is one that is resilient. It can stand the heat. Even if you think you’ve found the most loving, gentle and patient person on the face of the planet, chances are at one time or another you are going to experience some friction. The things below can literally save your marriage if you put them into practice, but don’t just take my word for it, find out what the experts are saying.
Here are five things that marriage experts say can make your marriage last forever:
1. Abide by Marital Rules of Engagement
In a conflict, the military has specific rules of engagement to follow. These rules define exactly how they are authorized to respond to a particular threat or encounter. Every soldier has to abide by the rules of engagement. One of the purposes for strict rules of engagement is to keep the fight from escalating and erupting into a huge ordeal. This same principle can be applied to marriage.
As is pointed out in Argue Fairly With Your Spouse: The Rules of Engagement, arguments in marriage are difficult to avoid. However, it is possible to keep a disagreement from exploding into World War III by agreeing to fight fairly. Following the marital rules of engagement can certainly protect your relationship from lasting resentment that over time can ruin a marriage.
2. Learn to Accept Constructive Criticism
Your marriage is likely your closest relationship. Therefore, your spouse probably knows you better than anyone else. They also spend a lot of time with you. It only stands to reason that they are going to see things about you that you need to change. If you want your marriage to last, then as pointed out at Project Happily Ever After you have to learn How to Take Criticism.
Probably the best thing you can do and the hardest is to simply listen. Listen without getting defensive. Listen without planning your response. Listen with all your might. Your spouse may be telling you something that is vitally important to your relationship and your well-being. If you miss it, then you are doing your relationship and yourself an injustice.
3. Understand that We All Married the Wrong Person
Love during courtship and dating tends to blind us to our partners’ faults. Television and movies plant the idea in our heads that marriage is supposed to be passionate and carefree all day, every day. These things are destructive to marriage. You’ve got to learn to take the good with the bad. There is no one perfect person for you that never will never irritate you or get on your nerves.
As Lori points out in We All Married the Wrong Person, you didn’t have all the information about your spouse when you got married. Therefore, you are going to discover some positive and some negative things after you get married. This is a fact for all of us. Accepting your spouse for who they are and learning to adapt is paramount to making your marriage last.
4. Check Your Level of Commitment
When you said, “Until death do us part”, did you really mean it? Short of things like physical and emotional abuse, you need to perform a gut check and verify that you are in this to the end. As David puts it, Marriage Is the Willingness to Be Miserable. It sounds pretty negative, but what he is saying is that life has many highs and lows. Are you willing to stick with your spouse even during long spells when life is completely miserable?
Life throws a lot of curve balls at you. Your spouse is going to go through some hard times. They are going to struggle physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and probably in numerous other ways over the course of a lifetime. Do you have what it takes to stick it out? Can you be there in the tough times as a supportive and encouraging partner? I’d recommend checking your level of commitment before you say, “I do” if you want your marriage to last.
5. Acknowledge You Are Different
Different is good. It gives you depth. If you and your spouse are too much alike, then you won’t have the wherewithal needed to handle all that will come your way in life. However, differences can also lead to problems especially on those hard days. Shannon explores this brilliantly in Marriage Under Stress: Do you and your spouse cope differently in times of stress?
As Shannon was reminded, men and women often have a very different approach to tough times. Understanding and accepting this will save you from a lot of heartache and misunderstanding. Neither response is necessarily wrong and both are often needed, but knowing how to handle the differences when feelings are raw is critical to getting along for the long haul.
Photo by p0psicle