How to Fireproof Your Marriage

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With the high prevalence of divorce, many married couples want to know how their marriage can surpass the odds. Marriages are built on shared interests, values and goals but they are often destroyed when these three things don't harmonize. A fireproof marriage includes one where spouses are open, honest and understanding of each other, as well as conscious of how they communicate and plan for the future together.

Be Open and Transparent

Psychologist Douglas LaBier highlights the importance of "radical transparency" with your spouse, which involves completely exposing your vulnerabilities and letting go of any fears of lessening your self-image in front of her. Tell your spouse your deepest desires, needs, viewpoints, thoughts and feelings. Share with him a secret about your inner life or discuss what the purpose of life is together. Increasing transparency and openness will deepen intimacy, which helps strengthen and fireproof your marriage.

Plan Ahead

Discussing and planning how you will handle tough issues like finances, religion and raising kids is imperative in fireproofing a marriage, preferably before these issues even arise. Marriage counselor Todd Outcalt says that postponing discussion of these issues will likely lead to conflict and heated disagreement later on in the marriage. So sit down with your spouse now and discuss how you will pay the house mortgage before you even buy one, or if your kids will be baptized before they are even born.

Learn How to Communicate

We learn arithmetic and reading in school but we somehow fail to learn one of the most important arts of all. Fireproof your marriage by learning better communication skills. Marshall Rosenberg recommends we verbalize feelings and needs using "I statements" instead of using "you statements." Instead of saying, "You never wash the dishes," try, "I am feeling exhausted and needing more help around the house." In this way, you are not attacking your spouse and instead taking responsibility for your own feelings and needs.

Increase Understanding and Acceptance

Once the honeymoon period -- when you think your spouse can do nothing wrong -- is over, you will likely discover some flaws or annoying mannerisms. Accept your spouse for who she is if you want a fireproof marriage. Alan Fruzzetti, Ph.D., recommends increasing understanding of where your spouse gets his ideas, viewpoints and habits based on the fact that you both had completely different upbringings and life experiences before meeting. Remind yourself what you love about her. Constantly seek the good in him and minimize the bad for a fireproof marriage.