Does your marriage have what it takes to survive over the long run? How do you know you both have the values and behaviors necessary to make it last?
Here is a list that will help you know if you both have what it takes to go the distance:
- You are both emotionally responsive to each other. There is empathy and active listening when you talk. You are concerned about each other and demonstrate that by paying attention to each other on a daily basis. You both acknowledge both big and small attempts for emotional connection.
- You are both open to dialogue, negotiating and finding a win-win during disagreements. You do your best to avoid going round and round on issues and instead use problem-solving skills. You also realize that some problems are not entirely solvable (for example, personality quirks) but can make adjustments accordingly.
- You both begin conversations gently as opposed to harshly when raising an issue. You avoid going on the attack or the defensive when discussing problems between you.
- You are both willing to take in one another’s influence and advice. You sincerely consider each other’s thoughts and opinions. Furthermore, research shows that the happiest marriages, in particular, are those in which the husband accepts influence from his wife.
- You both do your best to de-escalate negativity during an argument. In fact, you frequently use gestures or language that bring down the tension. Examples are saying “I apologize,” or “I understand what you are saying,” or using humor.
- You both minimize the “Four Horsemen” at all costs. According to science, these are the key predictors of divorce within couple communication: criticism, contempt (or belligerence), defensiveness, stonewalling (refusal to talk). Everyone gets angry at times but you both know to avoid these four behaviors when angry or emotional.
- You both show admiration and fondness for each other. You truly “like” each other, not just love each other.
- You are both entirely trustworthy. You have each other’s backs, do not keep secrets or behave in ways that cause insecurity or doubt in your partner and the relationship. You can be accessible and counted on when needed.
- You both focus on each other’s positives and not just the flaws. You do not let the things you found endearing when you first met later become sources of frustration.
- You both respect and encourage each other’s autonomy and individuality. There is not a complete merger of identities just because you are married. You both do not let your own insecurities sabotage each other’s sense of independence.
- You both strive to meet each other’s needs. Furthermore, you do so because you genuinely like to see your partner happy.
- You make efforts to avoid falling into a rut. You make plans to try new things together, have fun, laugh and play. Furthermore, you do not let the children derail these efforts.
- You both show gratitude and appreciation for each other. You express this daily in both actions and words.
- You are both supportive of each other’s dreams. You are curious about each other and what you both hope to accomplish in life. You help each other reach these goals both personally and together as a couple or a family.
- You are both completely committed to your marriage. You view the relationship as a “life-long journey” with ups and downs.
We live in a culture that makes it easy to consider divorce. Relationships can seem disposable. All things considered, there is nothing like having an everlasting love and romantic bond with a partner you can count on.