Strong marriages tend to be the result of couples' doing things right, rather than the lack of conflict in the relationship. Take a positive approach to your marriage, and look to yourself when you consider changes that need to be made. Above all, enjoy your marriage and keep the good times in mind while you work on creating new positive memories.
Switch up Your Routine
Dig your marriage out of a rut by changing the way you do things, advises marriage therapist Terri Orbuch, author of "5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great." Learn a new skill together, such as dancing or fly-fishing. Knock your partner off balance -- in a good way -- with a surprise. Consider buying a gift when it's not a holiday, or suggesting a trip to a favorite camping spot.
Problem Solve Effectively
Learning a new approach to addressing conflict in your marriage can help you and your spouse to put old arguments to rest for good. Marriage researcher John Gottman, in his book "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," advises approaching your spouse gently with the problem, using "I" statements and refraining from using blaming statements. Deescalate conflict with humor and statements that demonstrate acceptance of the other person's position. Compromise can also go a long way toward problem-solving.
Celebrate Your Differences
By focusing on the positive aspects of your differences, you can keep them from driving a wedge between you and the person you love. Leadership guru Michael Hyatt points out that if these differences didn't exist, you wouldn't have to get out of your comfort zone and enter into someone else's world. Rather, differences can serve to enhance a marriage. For example, if one spouse has difficulty planning ahead, while the other enjoys creating itineraries for daily life, they can balance each other out as long as these idiosyncratic behaviors are accepted rather than maligned.
Focus on Yourself
Focus on your behavior to make your marriage stronger. If your partner has an annoying habit of failing to rinse his dishes off each night, consider biting the bullet and not saying a word. You will never be able to change your spouse's behavior, but that you can change your own. Thinking about what you can do to improve the relationship is a more effective approach than focusing on the other person, and even if your spouse never changes, your marriage will be stronger.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work; John Gottman, Ph.D.
- University of Missouri Extension: Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage
- Michael Hyatt: How Differences With Your Spouse Can Make Your Marriage Stronger
- 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great; Terri Orbuch, Ph.D.
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