Provided below is practical marriage advice from relationship expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who since 1993 has been and continues to provide counseling for couples, individuals, and families. This nationally known relationship, marriage, and parenting expert; Dr. Karen Ruskin (that’s me) shares concrete insights and techniques to help the couple relationship dynamic be all that it can be. Whether in my office, on national or local television as a Psychotherapist media guest expert, radio, as a source for print media, or on my blog, my goal is to offer real solutions for real life relationship problems. Do note: whether you are married or not married, either way – if you are in a committed relationship, the following tips apply.
The key to a healthy, happy, loving, connected, bonded, lasting, and successful marital relationship is to water the plant of marriage each day.
- Make the time and take the time and do not take your marriage for granted.
- Make the time and take the time and do not take your spouse for granted.
- Make the time and take the time and spend quality time with your spouse.
- Make the time and take the time and get to know your spouse throughout your marriage.
- Make the time and take the time and pay attention to your spouse.
- Make the time and take the time and be supportive of your spouse.
- Make the time and take the time and be a dear friend to your spouse.
- Make the time and take the time to behave in a manner that is trustworthy, reliable, and responsible.
In many marriages over time the relationship becomes a business partnership. Make it a point to pay attention to the friendship, nurturing, and passionate side of the marriage while balancing the business side of marriage.
It is far too common for many marriages over time to gradually lose the loving, nurturing, passionate interaction they had in the beginning years. It is far too common that the interest in one’s spouse and the many ways in which that is displayed in words and actions becomes void. The caring and giving behaviors far too often declines over time. It is quite often that spouses report they do still love each other, the love is not in question. Yet, they do not feel very loving nor feel they are the recipient of attention and affection the way in which they would have expected marriage to be. One of the top reasons is that the business partnership that occurs in many marital relationships takes over. The business partnership includes taking care of all of the many responsibilities that occurs in marriage (e.g., bills, children).
Having a business partnership in and of itself is normal, and quite necessary. The key is not to lose the passionate side of the marriage and have the business partnership take over. If the marital identity has become ‘business’, then the marital identity is just that – business, thus the “other” side of the marriage experiences duress. Rather, the intent and focus must be to have a healthy balance of business and pleasure.
A helpful technique from me; Dr. Karen, to you that you can start using today is:
- Every morning when you wake up ask yourself:
- What is one thing I can do today to help enhance my marriage?
- What is one thing I can do today to help my spouse feel loved, valued, appreciated, and special?
- Make sure to implement your answer to your questions that very day.
- Every night before you go to sleep ask yourself:
- What is the one thing I did today to help enhance my marriage?
- What did I do today that helped my spouse to feel loved, valued, appreciated, and special?
If you did nothing today in your answers to the aforementioned, take action right now! Do not wait for your spouse to be the one to take ownership of enhancing the marriage – take action.
The communication pattern between couples is exactly that – a pattern.
It is the unhealthy communication pattern, that very dynamic that overtime chips away at the couple. Take notice of the role you are playing in this negative pattern. Each day chose to make an active effort to interact in a healthier way, a different way. It takes one person to be the difference that makes the difference to break an old pattern and thus emerge a new communication pattern.
It is my opinion that there are 3 legs of marriage that must be paid attention to if you hope to experience a successful, healthy, and bonded marriage throughout time. It is these 3 legs, the 3 keys that are imperative.
There are 3 key pieces you must spend effort and energy to attend to if you wish to remain feeling truly connected to your spouse and your spouse connected to you. Most relationships start out feeling joyous and building in connection. As time passes it is not uncommon to feel disconnected from your spouse, it is your job to create connection, ongoing connection. It is your responsibility if you wish to have a healthy marriage.
The plan: play an active role in the ongoing development of having a healthy, happy, loving, and bonded relationship.
The 3 legs of marriage/3 key pieces include:
- Emotional Intimacy
- Physical Intimacy
- Sexual Intimacy
Intertwined within the 3 legs of marriage/the 3 key pieces as discussed above, you must have active healthy communication with your spouse.
Intertwined within the 3 legs of marriage (emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy) and the overall umbrella that surrounds these 3 key pieces is: healthy communication! Without healthy communication within each of these 3 key pieces the relationship declines over time.
2 concrete examples of healthy communication includes:
- Each person feels they have a voice in the relationship and that voice is heard.
- Speak with your spouse not at your spouse.
With healthy marital communication you open the door each day to a relationship that has the opportunity to grow in each of the 3 important marital areas of intimacy (emotional, physical, sexual).
Do you want to have a healthy marriage? The answer most likely is yes. Here is how:
Think about what a healthy marriage looks like, feels like, and acts like. Then, each day be mindful of acting like you have a healthy marriage, make choices for interaction verbally, physically, and sexually for what having a healthy marriage looks like and what you envision a healthy marriage to be.
If you think and act like you have a healthy marriage, if your spouse thinks and acts like you have a healthy marriage – what do you think this relationship dynamic has the potential to become? Answer: a healthy marriage.
Want some more practical marriage advice to have a healthy marriage?
If you enjoyed this blog article and wish to learn more practical techniques, doable strategies, and increase your understanding of what his needs and her needs are in a marital dynamic, take a sneak peak into Dr. Karen’s marriage guide. My cutting edge book provides assignments and states specific must do’s to have a healthy and successful marriage at any phase and stage of the marital/relationship journey. Check it out, it’s an easy read! Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual provides practical marriage advice.