Marriages are ever changing relationships. Just as people grow, mature and become interested in different hobbies, careers and even kinds of food, a marriage changes too. The things that you needed out of your marriage as newlyweds may be very different from the supports you need from your twenty year old marriage.
Although marriages may change, commitment and communication remain the vital foundations of married life. Here you will learn tips for keeping your marriage strong, no matter what stage your marriage is in.
Sustaining a Healthy Marriage – The 3 “C’s”
Three of the most important factors to sustaining a healthy marriage are the 3 “C’s”- Companionship (or friendship), Communication (and problem solving), and Commitment.
Companionship (or friendship)
More and more, researchers are coming to think that at the heart of a healthy, successful marriage is a deep friendship. This means the two people have a deep respect for each other and sincerely enjoy each other’s company. They know each other’s likes and dislikes and their hopes, dreams, and fears. They regularly express appreciation and fondness for each other. They take time on a daily basis to “catch-up” and “reconnect.” And they are partners. They see themselves as on the same team and share a vision of where they are going.
Communication and Effective Problem-solving
Couples who can talk to each other and resolve differences in a positive manner are much more likely to have a healthy and successful marriage. Good communication involves things such as: avoiding harsh criticism and contempt; not being defensive or unwilling to discuss a problem; being humble and open to change; starting a disagreement in a “soft” way rather than “blasting away”; and using appropriate humor to keep things “light.” Effective problem-solving involves such things as: knowing that some problems can’t be solved right now and learning to live with that; working on the differences and problems that are solvable; knowing when you need to calm down and disengage for a while to avoid saying or doing something hurtful; accepting differences and imperfections, and being willing to forgive; and being flexible and open to different solutions.
Commitment helps couples stay together despite temporary difficulties in their relationship because of the time and energy they have invested in the relationship. Most marriages go through hard times, but a large majority of couples who stick together through these hard times find happiness again. The security that commitment creates may help couples sacrifice for their relationship without resenting it. Commitment makes sacrifice possible because when individuals know that their relationship will continue, they are able to delay their own needs to meet another’s because they know that their needs can be met later. Research suggests that people put “lack of commitment” as the most common reason for the failure of their marriage.