Every marriage, even the happiest of marriages, is going to have a certain amount of difficulty from time to time. You are going to fight. You are going to dislike each other. And you are also likely going to have some great times. Sometimes, things will be amazing and you’ll feel like you have never wanted to be doing anything else with anyone else. Sometimes you will be working on your relationship and sometimes you will be enjoying the status quo. There is no doubt that successful marriages can sometimes feel like a great struggle. There are some factors that go into long-term successful marriages. Using these building blocks, you may be able to keep your relationship healthy and happy for years to come.
Just like your body retains muscle memory, it also retains touch memory. The memory of simple loving touches such as hugs and kisses remain with your body and in your mind. They are strongly linked to your emotional self-worth. The emotional reminder of a kiss from your partner can last for a long time and work to strengthen your emotional bond. Loving, physical contact may help to fortify you against the trials you are likely to face when you go out into the world on your own. People in successful marriages are encouraged in couples therapy to be mindful about keeping up physical contact as an indicator of affection.
It is good for you and your partner to have some similar interests. You may both work in the same industry. You may both like old movies, kayaking, or gardening. You may both like to cook or debate the current state of politics. Whatever it is that you like to do together, do it. Even if that thing is spending Friday night eating takeout and watching Law & Order re-runs. It is important to do things together so that you have things to talk about and things to share about that you both find engaging and fun.
It is also good for you to cultivate interests that are separate as well. There is no need for you to share everything and be involved in every aspect of each others lives. If you want to be active in your church, but your partner has no interest in a religious life, does not mean you shouldn’t pursue it. If your partner wants to join a Sunday morning soccer team or host a book club in your living room, support him or her in that decision, just as you should be supported in your endeavors by your partner. Always actively listen about the activities in which you are not involved. It is important to your partner, and he or she is important to you.
One of the pitfalls that couples fall into is focusing on the negative traits of the other partner and forgetting to notice the positive things that he or she does. According to some sources, for every negative that you pick out about your partner, you should find five positives. Set yourself a goal of spending a week complimenting the things that your partner has done rather than criticizing what he or she has not done. Do not store up all of the things that he or she has not done during the week. This will breed resentment which is unhealthy for both of you.
Once you master positivity, forgiveness should be a snap. While you are focusing on seeing the positive things about your partner, take a minute at the end of each day to let go of anything that has bothered you. You cannot go back and fix it now, so letting it go is the healthiest thing for both of you. If it is something really difficult for you to deal with, have a conversation with your partner about it. And if that conversation seems to bring up some other issues, it may not be a bad idea to see a qualified counselor to help you and your partner deal with some of the issues that come up. A counselor may be able to get to the bottom of your difficulty and help you heal.