7 Signs You Are Doing Marriage Right
This list could easily total 100, or even 1,000, as there are countless ways to make your marriage work. But here are seven signs that show you know what you are doing when it comes to marriage.
1) You have rituals and practice them regularly.
Rituals are important for emotional connection in a relationship. Oftentimes rituals are passed down from your family of origin; however, you can create new rituals with your partner as well.
Rituals can be formal, such as a family reunion, Thanksgiving lunch at cousin Paula’s house, or a celebration of anniversaries and birthdays.
Informal rituals are just as important and may consist of a weekly date night, a kiss before work, or an evening walk after dinner.
When creating new rituals, they should be meaningful to both you and your partner. You may decide to continue a tradition from your own family, or create a ritual that is based on something you wish you had participated in while growing up.
2) You have fights, but know how to repair any damage.
Fights, arguments, tiffs, disagreements – whatever you want to call them – are inevitable in any long-term relationship.
There is a misconception that healthy couples don’t fight. It’s not that healthy couples don’t fight; they just know HOW to fight.
In Dr. John Gottman’s 40 years of research on couples, he has found that 69% of problems in relationships are unsolvable. Knowing how to navigate these gridlocked issues is key to saving your relationship. (This is an important topic that will be covered in future articles.)
The first step is to recognize that disagreements do not have to spell trouble for your relationship, just as Chandler learns from Monica in this clip from Friends.
The second step is to learn how to air your disagreements with your partner in a respectful and productive way. Over the next several months, I will provide information, tips, and activities that will help you to communicate effectively with your partner during the midst of a disagreement.
3) You are eager to share news, good or bad, with your partner.
When something happens, they are the first person you think about telling.
This happens to me during the most random moments, such as coming across a funny video on my facebook newsfeed; I either text the link to my partner, or make a note to share it in the evening.
This is just one of countless examples in which you can share and connect with your partner throughout the course of your day.
Imagine you just found out that you got a promotion at work. Also imagine that you got a flat tire. Whether good or bad, who do you want to share this news with first? Is it your partner?
If so, this means that you have a trusting relationship and feel safe and comfortable sharing both the good and bad. If not, maybe it’s a sign that you are disconnected from your partner in some way.
4) You can be yourself.
For those of you who are like me and prefer a no- (or very limited-) shave winter, did you honor that during your first winter with your partner? Remember this comic from last week? In all seriousness though, if you have made it through the initiation phase of your relationship and feel that you can be yourself around your partner, congratulations! You are doing marriage right.
And it’s not just that you can be yourself. It is also important that your partner be accepting of this authentic version of you.
5) You still flirt with each other and go out on dates.
Have you ever been in a funk? You know? That listless feeling you sometimes get out of nowhere that lasts a few days, weeks, or even months?
Relationships can also enter into a funk. Maybe you and your partner have gotten into a comfortable, yet unfulfilling, routine of going to work, coming home, eating dinner, watching TV, and going to bed – only to continue this day after day.
If this sounds like you, liven things up by finding new ways to flirt with your partner. Schedule time for dates. These dates don’t have to be something extravagant. A date can be something as simple as time set aside for just you and your partner.
In order to avoid the funk in your relationship, make your time together interesting. Have a habit of doing one small thing different each day to avoid getting into a bland routine.
6) You know your partner’s inner world – their hopes and dreams.
You may have been with your partner for 10, 15, or even 20 years, but do you know their inner world? Their most embarrassing moment from childhood? Their biggest worries about the future? What dreams of theirs are still unfulfilled?
Years may pass as a couple, and you may still be left without a true understanding of who your partner is. Ask meaningful questions and you could be surprised by the depth of your mate.
What are the largest obstacles preventing you from realizing your dreams? Where would you choose to live if you had to leave this country? Who has inspired you as a mentor and why? If you didn’t have to worry about money what would you do with your life?
These and many other questions are included in the original edition of TableTopics. These sets are wonderful for getting to know others better. They even have a set designed specifically for couples. You can order them here on the Resources page.
7) You can listen to your partner.
This may seem simple, but real listening is a true art form. For the majority of us, we are listening only to come up with a reply to the speaker.
This is best described in a quote by Steven R. Covey – “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
The next time your partner is talking to you about something, see if you notice yourself thinking of what you want to say instead of being fully focused on their words.
If this happens often, imagine that each time your partner is talking you have to reflect back to them what they have said and offer an interpretation about what they were feeling regarding the topic they were talking about.
Regardless of whether you do this activity aloud (which I would recommend) or not, you are becoming better at being a true listener and you are reflecting back to your partner that they are being heard – which is an invaluable act in happy relationships.
I'm Here For Your Relationship
I'm on a mission to reduce the stigma of couples therapy. We are not always taught how to be part of a couple, how to have healthy relationships, and how to make love last. So there's no shame in getting support for your most important relationship. The services I offer could be compared to relationship school.
School is in session and I'm here to help you and your partner increase friendship and intimacy, improve communication, manage conflict, and enrich your relationship.