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Switch to Forum Live View What are the Qualities of a Healthy Marriage?
4 years ago  ::  May 29, 2010 - 5:07PM #1
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

Below are some of the qualities I believe are inidicative of a  healthy marriage. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list - what are  your thoughts on what the qualities of a healthy marriage are?


  • Have  good communication skills, especially listening.
  • Have a deep  sense of trust.
  • Manage conflict in a constructive manner.
  • Spend  quality and quantity time together.
  • Have a shared spirituality.
  • Have  a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.
  • Have unity based on  shared values and goals.
  • Forgive on a regular basis.
  • Frequently  affirm and appreciate one another.

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4 years ago  ::  May 29, 2010 - 8:24PM #2
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

A.  Don't sweat the small stuff.


B.  With few exceptions, it's all small stuff.


 


Maintain a sense of humor in all things.  Take the time to simply enjoy one another.  Make long-term plans for your future, and share memories of your youth.  Don't let life's crap get in the way of your love.  Don't lose your own sense of self in the marriage, or you will live to regret it.  Insist your partner do things he or she finds fulfilling, too.  Put your children first while they need you, but let them grow up, too.


I'll think of others, I'm sure.

First amendment fan since 1793.
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4 years ago  ::  May 30, 2010 - 12:00PM #3
Anesis
Posts: 1,543

Imo, one of the problems with this kind of question is that it is so easy to say all the "right" things, but another altogether to really live them out. This is where marriage really takes "work" - the deliberate choice to think, feel, and do the things that will benefit your marriage even in the face of adversity, conflict, negative feelings, etc.


Dr. Gottman suggests seven principles for making it work. Personally, when I read his book, I could sum most of it up into two categories - friendship and thought life.


Under what I think of as friendship, Gottman suggests what he calls enhancing your love maps, which is really a deliberate action of staying familiar and being interested in the minutia of your partner's life. Then there is turning toward each other rather than away. Let your spouse be your go-to person, and create a safe environment for them to come to you. Let your partner influence you. Good friends want what is best for the other, so they are not likely to make suggestions that are going to deliberately harm you. Let them influence you. And finally, create shared meaning. Build mutual intimacy in all areas, social, emotional, mental, physical, sexual, etc. This includes both quality and quantity of time as Arnie mentioned.


Under what I think of as thought life, Gottman suggests nurturing your fondness for each other. He has what he calls positive or negative sentiment override. Positive means that their positive thoughts about each other override any negative ones. Negative means that everything gets interpreted more and more negatively...thinking, suspecting and expecting the worst from, by, and about your partner.


Then there is the ability to solve solvable problems. This has much to do with friendship, since good friends typically start with a positive and respectful vantage point. But it has to do with thoughtful communication, too. Gottman suggests that when you have a problem that needs solving, your startup should be "soft" (tactful, caring). When things start getting out of hand, he says to make and receive repair attempts. This could mean anything from dropping the issue when your partner says "I'm sorry" or you realizing it is not worth arguing about. A good friend recently told me his secret: Would you rather be right, or would you rather enhance the relationship? Gottman then suggests soothing yourself and each other. Time out is important to calm yourself down, lower the heart rate, etc, and then working to calm your spouse down, which is really hard when you are feeling angry or hurt. But it works...my beloved did it for me when we argued - he would take me in his arms and tell me that in spite of disagreeing, that he loved me dearly. Finally, Gottman suggesting being flexible enough to compromise and being tolerant of each other's "faults" - or the things that you think of as faults (differences, really). This goes back to positive sentiment override.


Gottman identifies overcoming gridlock as another principle, but it is really just a continuation of solving the solvable problems. Overcoming gridlock is about learning to live with the differences, accepting them or finding ways to compromise around them. In other words, accept there are unsolvable problems and accept the differences between you by learning to live together in spite of them.


According to Gottman, these are the qualities of a healthy marriage, and based on my experiences of both healthy and unhealthy relationships, I definitely agree. Although I would add one more thing, which is commitment. Commitment is made up of caring and consistency. You can have one without the other, but that is not commitment - commitment requires both. When there is caring and consistency, your partner is likely to respond by feeling significant and secure so that even conflict is not a threat to the marriage.

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4 years ago  ::  May 31, 2010 - 11:57AM #4
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407
You make some excellent observations - thank you! It is been my experience as well that it is easier to say than to do.

Gottman has certainly done pioneering work in marriages and has very insightful analysis based on scientific research. To his "thought" and "friendship" categories I would add a spiritual one, meaning a shared sense of something greater than oneself and not simply identical religions or even beliefs (although these seem to make things smoother).

Perhaps the most important item for me is "sentiment override" - which translates into "love is a decision." Meaning that if I am feeling negatively towards my spouse, I can choose to love instead.

I agree that commitment is a big item, and I see it too as a choice I make to the relationship - again regardless of how I may feel in the moment.

And I especially liked what your friend said about being right vs the relationship!
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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 11:59PM #5
IHOP
Posts: 2,179

In addition to all the good ideas here, I'd like to add:


 


A certain amount of reliance on the partner.  If he knows I'm counting on him, he's less likely to screw up.  If I know I'm counting on him, I'm less likely to decide to leave.  Same goes for him counting on me. 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 11:37AM #6
David
Posts: 287

I believe in this wise old saying.."don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"...Wink

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 11:58AM #7
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

David,


LOL! Laughing (but 'petting the sweaty things' can be the most fun of all! Undecided)


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 08, 2010 - 10:25AM #8
David
Posts: 287

Jun 7, 2010 -- 11:58AM, ArnieBeeGut wrote:


David,


LOL!  (but 'petting the sweaty things' can be the most fun of all! )


 




 


I hear ya, Arnie...but I don't need marriage to pet some sweaty things..heheehehehhehehehehehe 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 09, 2010 - 1:07PM #9
REteach
Posts: 14,726

Creative and mutually satisfying sex.

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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4 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2010 - 10:36AM #10
David
Posts: 287

Jun 9, 2010 -- 1:07PM, REteach wrote:


Creative and mutually satisfying sex.




 


absolutely!!Laughing

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