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Working on the Marriage

Seeking a divorce is not always the best alternative for a couple who is experiencing problems. It may be the case that working on your marriage, via counseling or any of the methods listed below, is the best answer for you and your spouse.

Common marital issues include: disagreements, lack of intimacy, disrespect and resentment. 

There are several issues that lead couples to become dissatisfied with their marriage. If the issues listed above continue unaddressed, they may bring about the end of the marriage. Listed below are five steps that you and your spouse may take in order to minimize, or even eliminate, these common marital difficulties.

Communicate

This is likely the most important, yet most overlooked, part of any relationship. Communication is essential, and it involves more than just talking to your spouse. Communication is a two-step process. It includes both articulating your message and listening respectfully to your spouse’s response. Actively listening to your spouse and clearly delivering your message is extremely important and will assist in preventing disagreements and arguments caused by simple misunderstandings.

Be Realistic

Your spouse is not perfect and neither are you. You are not mind readers. It is important to be realistic and honest with your spouse about your expectations of him or her and of the marriage. It is best to do this either before or early on in the marriage; however, it is never too late to communicate your hopes and solicit their anticipated needs. It is impossible to live up to a standard of which you are unaware. Sharing your expectations with each other will help you operate in ways that are more conducive to the success of your relationship.     

Spend Time Together

You and your spouse may live together, but how much quality time do you actually share? Between work, caring for your children and any hobbies or other activities you may participate in, the time left to enjoy with your spouse may be minimal. In order to foster a healthy relationship, it is essential that you ensure that you and your spouse spend quality time together. This time may come in two forms:  state of the marriage meetings and date nights. State of the marriage meetings are times that you choose to privately discuss practical issues that concern your marriage, such as financial or child rearing issues. Date nights are the opposite. Date nights elicit romance and emotional connection. You may find that increasing the time you spend with your spouse, even slightly, will increase the communication and emotional bond that is shared.

You may find that increasing the time you spend with your spouse, even slightly, will increase the communication and emotional bond that is shared.

Be Romantic

Intimacy is another important aspect to any relationship. Similar to communication, intimacy must be nurtured. Communicate to your spouse your desires regarding intimacy and request that your spouse express their wishes to you as well. Openly communicating with your spouse regarding your love life will ensure you remain emotionally and physically satisfied and will lead to richer and more fulfilling romantic experiences.

Be Appreciative

It is often easy to govern your spouse or to take them for granted. This is a practice, however, that may lead to growing resentment within the relationship. Take time to regularly compliment your spouse and tell them how much you appreciate them. Even though giving a compliment may seem like a menial task, it will show your spouse that you appreciate them and that you are considerate of their contributions to the relationship.  

Counseling via religious leaders, therapists, or psychologists may be a wonderful way to initiate or specifically tailor these recommendations to your relationship so that you and your spouse may begin the path to fostering a stronger and more fulfilling marriage. 

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