The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately half of all women's first marriages end in divorce or separation within 20 years, and one-third of men's first marriages end within 10 years. Despite these relatively dismal statistics, many marriages do last a lifetime. Keeping a marriage intact after 10 years together is the result of continued effort to nurture the relationship and each other.
Engage in behaviors that maintain positivity within the marriage. The University of Missouri Extension notes that marriages that last the longest have proportionately more positivity than shorter marriages. Positivity must be realistic, however, and after 10 years together, negativity is to be expected at times. Listening to and voicing appreciation for your partner and celebrating each others' achievements facilitate positivity in a marriage.
Learn and implement skills for conflict resolution. A longitudinal research study published in the "Journal of Family Psychology" found that longer-lasting marriages are characterized by forgiveness and conflict resolution. The lack of the ability or willingness to resolve conflict within a marriage can create resentment between spouses. In addition, conflict resolution skills such as approaching challenges with flexibility and negotiating fairly can facilitate a win-win situation. This also reduces resentment that may occur if one spouse does not feel his or her needs are as valuable as those of the partner.
Keep working on yourself. Although a marriage is the merging of the lives of two individuals, you are still two distinct, separate people. It is common to forget that fact as a marriage becomes more routine and less novel. Part of the work of keeping a marriage going involves each partner fulfilling his or her own needs. This can be accomplished by spending time participating in a favorite activity with friends or alone. In addition, continuing to engage in activities that interest you and not necessarily your spouse can support your well-being, confidence and self-esteem.
Maintain a friendship with your spouse. The University of Missouri explains that the ideal marriage is made of individuals who are close friends. In many cases, partners may be each others' best friend, and they place primary importance on maintaining the friendship as well as the romance. Little things such as leaving a sweet note, watching a movie together and saying "I love you" without expectation for anything in return can help keep a marriage going. It may seem easier to be complacent and not bother with the small things, but the accumulation of "not bothering" can cause partners to lose their connection.
- University of Missouri Extension: Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Marriage and Divorce
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: First Marriages in the United States: Data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth
- Journal of Family Psychology: Longitudinal Relations Between Forgiveness and Conflict Resolution in Marriage
- University of Wisconsin: Conflict Resolution Menu: 8 Steps for Conflict Resolution
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