There are probably few things in our lives that are as important as starting, building and maintaining a great marriage. Sadly enough, though, the methods we use for relating to our partners lead to an unhappy or sterile marriage rather than one filled with intimacy and closeness. But good communication in marriage is a skill that can be learned. Here are some key guidelines to a happy and rewarding marriage.
1. Relate To Your Spouse Through His Strengths Rather Than His Failings.
Focus on the things your partner does right and on his attributes rather than his faults.
It's easy to perceive your partnerís faults - we all have them. However, when you relate to others through their strengths and skills, you instill confidence, bypass conflict and demonstrate a productive way of relating to others. Communicating from this positive frame of reference builds trust. By displaying an awareness of your partners capabilities, you help them to shift their attention towards the things they really want and to feel at peace with who they are, especially those aspects of themselves they may not really like. This acceptance helps them to let go of those unwanted aspects as they pay more attention to expanding their strengths.
2. Make Peace With The Way Things Are. Being angry or resentful about present (and past) conditions keeps you anchored there. By learning to view the present from a different perspective you will be able to see new paths that previously were obscured. It is like climbing a hill or a tree and being able to see further. Make peace with the present so that you are comfortable even with seemingly intolerable conditions. When you feel good about where you are, new paths will present themselves. Try it, you'll see.
3. Honest Feedback Is Greatly Overrated. Yes, this statement may shock graduates of numerous communications workshops, so it's worth repeating and clarifying: when bringing attention to the failings of another, offering honest feedback is greatly overrated. It is very often presumptuous, manipulative and harmful. Attempts to influence the thoughts and behavior of another - control how they think and act - though well-intended, are often misplaced and usually futile. Moreover, they cause your spouse to focus more on what they don't want - their failings.
This is not to deny the merit of letting others know how something they have done affects you. Much of the value of this communication lies in taking responsibility for our own responses, not in diminishing others by claiming they are the cause of the way we feel. You can ask them to cooperate in making it easier for us. When you show respect, you encourage others to respect us.
Habitually see your spouse - and relate to them - through their strengths and skills. If you continue to draw attention to perceived failings, they remain conscious of these - and so do you. This leads us to respond negatively to those things you dislike. When you're feeling anger, pause and consider how you can approach the situation through the strengths and skills of those who've provoked you. For those situations that are especially annoying, learn to feel OK with where you are right now as this makes it easier to let go of present conditions. Then you can move on to a situation that is happier and more fulfilling. For a beautiful future, make peace with the present.