“To keep the fire burning brightly there’s one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart – about a finger’s breadth – for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.” ~Marnie Reed Crowell
Unfortunately, there aren’t many classes in high school or college that teach us how to be successful in long-term relationships and divorce is common. That’s regrettable, because a fulfilling relationship can contribute so much toward enjoying a happy and successful life.
There are many things you can do to strengthen your marriage and help make it last until death do you part. If you want to have the best chance of marital success, it’s a wise idea to learn some of these strategies.
The following tips are compiled from data gathered from researchers and are designed to strengthen and heat up marriages and make them last! (Please note: they should only be applied if you’re in a healthy relationship! If not, you can start fixing things right here.)
Have realistic expectations. It’s easy to make it through the early stages of a relationship when everything is new and exciting. But those annoying little habits aren’t quite as cute and endearing ten years into the future. A relationship requires work and energy to grow and thrive.
Become good at saying “I’m sorry.” Despite your best efforts, you’ll make mistakes in your marriage. Studies have shown that the people slowest to apologize are the ones most likely to stay single or get divorced.
- Sometimes you have to decide if you’d rather be correct or happy. Be strong enough to say you’re sorry and move on.
It’s okay to argue in a respectful way. The presence of arguing in a relationship doesn’t affect its success as much as how a couple argues. One psychologist claims a 95% success rate for predicting which relationships would fail just by listening to an argument for five minutes!
- The four factors that make all the difference when you argue are: contempt, defensiveness, criticism, and withdrawing. Avoid these behaviors and your marriage is more likely to survive.
Laugh together. Remember the good times you’ve shared. Talk about and relive them. Reminiscing about fun times helps keep couples together.
- Consider creating some happy, new memories and remind your partner about the great times you’ve already enjoyed. Laughing together strengthens your marriage!
You need five good times for each bad one. Research has shown that marriages require at least five positive interactions for each negative one. What is a good interaction? A fun afternoon, a positive conversation, or a good hug. You know what a negative interaction is.
- You can complain, but avoid criticizing. If your partner’s behavior is bothering you, it’s okay to point it out and ask them to stop. But, avoid attacking your partner. You can say, “It drives me crazy when you throw your dirty socks all over the floor.” But avoid saying, “You’re such a slob. What’s your problem?”
- Most people can accept that they might be doing something bothersome. However, that’s different from being personally attacked.
A happy marriage is important for your mental and physical health–and if you’ve got kids, theirs too. There are times when we all have to put our own needs aside and do whatever we can to strengthen our relationships. These tips will help you work toward a happy partnership as you give your marriage the time and attention it deserves.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.