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Recipe for a Healthy and Happy Marriage
Department of Health and Human Services - Federal Occupational Health
maintaining a healthy marriage takes time and effort. With the day-to-day
pressures of work, children and chores it can be easy to neglect to nurture your
relationship and to take your mate for granted. This guide is designed to remind
you about the importance of fostering a healthy relationship. It offers basic
tips to help you build a successful marriage every day.
Finally, if you are
having difficulty with your marriage or relationship, seek help. There are many
resources available to help you including, therapists, clergy members, marriage
workshops, and support groups. Additionally, you may have access to an Employee
Assistance Program (EAP) through your employer. EAPs typically provide
confidential counseling services and referrals to other emotional health
resources in your area. Ask your Human Resources representative to find out if
your employer offers this benefit.
- Learn to communicate effectively. Communication is perhaps the
most important key to a strong, healthy relationship. Effective
communication requires you to be an active listener—listening without
judgment and focusing on what your partner is saying—as well as expressing
your own feelings in a positive, truthful way.
- Make time for each other. Part of being able to communicate
effectively is making time for meaningful conversations in a setting free of
distractions. For example, turn off the television in the evening to make it
possible to have a real conversation or order a pizza and catch up during a
quiet night at home.
- Fight fair. Don’t expect to agree on everything. An important
part of resolving conflicts is being respectful of your partner’s feelings,
even when you are arguing. Let your partner know you value what he or she is
saying, even if you don't agree. Try to avoid criticizing, ridiculing,
dismissing or rejecting your partner or what he or she is saying. If you’re
feeling frustrated and feel as if your anger is taking over, take a time out
from the conversation and agree to resume it at a specific time later.
Note--If you ever feel as if you may physically hurt your partner, walk away
and seek help immediately.
- Make a commitment to your relationship. Make your relationship
with your partner a priority in your life. A relationship is a work in
progress. It needs attention and effort to grow. No matter how busy you are,
make time to spend quality time together, even if you have to schedule out
specific time slots on your calendars. Celebrate each other’s
accomplishments together and support each other during harder times.
- Express appreciation. Saying thank you can go a long way toward
making your partner feel special and appreciated. Even though you may feel
that your partner knows you care, it doesn’t hurt to say thanks—even for
every day things like cooking dinner, putting the kids to bed, or taking out
- Maintain a sense of humor. Laugh often with your mate and be
willing to laugh at yourself. Maintaining a sense of humor can relieve
stress and tension, and help you get through a difficult time together.
- Learn to compromise. Compromise is important in any relationship,
but it’s especially important in a marriage. If you disagree on an issue,
discuss the problem calmly, allow each person to explain his or her point of
view, and look for ways to meet each other in the middle.
- Practice forgiveness. There may be times when your partner makes a
mistake or says or does something hurtful—whether intentionally or
unintentionally. While it’s okay to be angry, it’s also important to then
let go of the anger and move on. If you constantly bring up past hurts, it’s
difficult to have a mutually loving relationship.
- Keep romance alive. Relationships are often romantic in the
beginning, but as time passes and couples become distracted by other
things—work, children, bills, the house—they often take each other for
granted. Make your partner feel special by doing something romantic, no
matter how small. For example, make breakfast in bed for your partner, make
a date for a special night out, take a walk on the beach, or have a picnic.
- Take time for yourself. It’s normal for couples to have different
hobbies, interests and friends. While it’s important to spend quality time
with each other, it’s equally important to spend time alone or with friends.
For example, plan a girls’ or guys’ night out, take a kickboxing class or
join a book club. By making time for yourselves, you’ll appreciate each
MS, LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cloud-Townsend: Authors of "Boundaries
Family Life Conference: A weekend marriage conference that can renew a
marriage. Lively speakers, great fun and growth.
Encounter: A Catholic Marriage Renewal Ministry and Weekend Marriage