Counseling & Coaching

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Relationships can be difficult—and entering holy matrimony doesn’t make them any easier. In fact, marriage can cause further complications, as many see this as a reason or excuse to neglect the relationship to a certain degree. They adopt the mentality that everything is A-Okay because, well, they’ve vowed to stand by each other’s side forever.

But that doesn’t mean that you should stop giving your partner the time and attention they deserve. Instead, you should continue to spoil them with your love, day in and day out, and avoid making one big mistake…

Make Your Relationship the Priority

We all make mistakes—even when it comes to the people we love most—but according to Licensed Counselor and Life Coach Monte Drenner, there’s one big mistake many of us are guilty of making in a relationship… and that’s putting it on the backburner. Drenner explains the importance of keeping your relationship the priority, especially in marriage:

“One of the biggest mistakes I see couples make, regardless of how long they have been married, is that they do not keep the relationship the priority. Early on in a relationship, they spend a great deal of time together nurturing the relationship and making it stronger. However, as careers grow and kids come, many couples think that the relationship is on autopilot and will fly itself. Since the relationship is not nurtured as it was at one time, it begins to die. I counsel people to always, always, keep the relationship the priority. If so, they will reap the benefits of a healthy and happy marriage.”

Be a Good Spouse: 5 Keys

In order to maintain a happy relationship and be a good spouse to your partner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jim Seibold says you should strive to be…

    “Don’t stop dating, no matter how long you have been married. Learning about each other never stops, especially after the wedding. Healthy couples continue to ask each other questions and share information about their values, beliefs, likes, dislikes, etc. In addition, like the dating relationship, they continue to make sure their spouse knows they are interested in them.”

    “Be consistent in demonstrating love and respect. Do not assume your spouse knows this just because you show up. I encourage couples read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman as a way of understanding how we feel loved and how our spouse feels loved. This helps couples understand how they can demonstrate love and respect in effective ways.”

    “Be purposeful in demonstrating love even when you don’t feel very loving. This is where the marital commitment and security is really forged. It is easy to demonstrate love and respect when we feel it from our partner. However, are we willing to do it when we are not feeling particularly loved? I am not suggesting we have to overlook problems in the relationship. However, when we only show love when we feel it, we send a message that our love is earned. The relationship becomes more transactional. This leads to feelings of insecurity and resentment.”

    “Be assertive with one another. By assertive, I mean a willingness to share our thoughts and feelings. It is different from being demanding or controlling. Assertiveness includes respectful, honest communication with a willingness to hear from the other person. This is crucial for building and maintaining trust. When couples are willing to risk difficult conversations, they are sending a strong message of commitment towards the relationship and trust in their spouse. They are saying I trust you with this and I trust our relationship can handle this. When couples are not assertive with one another, they are suggesting a lack of trust in their partner and the strength of the relationship. Many problems result from couples who purposely avoid conflict. Problems are less likely to get resolved, but growing frustration over time leads to bitterness and resentment.”

    “Be willing to hang in there when your spouse feels emotional. People often react to other’s emotions by taking them personally or trying to change them. Emotions are important and give us important information. When we become reactive to our spouse’s emotions rather than try to understand them, two significant things happen. First, our spouse feels rejected and invalidated. They often feel they are being judged or misunderstood. Second, we miss opportunities to engage in important conversation or demonstrate compassion and understanding. People do not have to put up with inappropriate behaviors, such as abuse, but we do need to stand in the midst of strong emotions without personalizing or trying to change it.”

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