“What could have – or has – saved your marriage?”
As I scrolled through my FaceBook feed last week, this was a facebook post that clearly stood out to me. A friend simply asked this question, “What could have – or has – saved your marriage?” The comments came pouring in – those of encouragement, and those of regret. What will save your marriage?
What makes it a true marriage beyond simply a companionship? Is it one thing, or a combination of things? What would I say? Not one to ever narrow things down to simply “one thing” when I have the opportunity to elaborate, Nathan and I discussed what has saved our marriage here:
The response on the facebook post was so fabulous, however, I want to share more than just what Nathan and I think. I posted this in my Mama Says Namaste group and got even more wonderful comments. Below are 37 comments from others about what has saved, or could possibly have saved a marriage.
- It was making the decision to make it different. In a recent marriage retreat we attended, we were asked to write down our expectations for our marriage when we got married. We both wrote that we didn’t know what to expect but we knew that it was going to be different than the other marriages around us. We never discussed that decision until recently, but it has made such a huge impact on our relationship.
- The willingness to forgive.
- Mutual respect.
- Talking to each other and being vulnerable, when it would be so easy to stay quiet and shut each other out.
- Intentional time to talk. We have begun meeting at 7pm every day. 20-30 minutes. Simply talking.
- Listening, forgiving, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.
- I think the key in a successful marriage is always providing each other with a safe environment to discuss anything. It’s hard but it’s possible.
Softness, forgiveness, empathy and lots of laughter.
- Understanding that forgiveness is vital and what forgiveness truly is.
Forgiveness is refusing to serve up an offense to yourself or the other person. We take thoughts captive and let go what has been done to us.
- Learn how to disagree without screaming, name calling and stonewalling. (Check out the 5 most common arguments in a marriage here).
- Be willing to admit weaknesses and ask for help.
- Surprisingly some understanding and cannabis oil. [this one was just too good to not add in here!]
- Swallow your pride, admit you’re not Wonder Woman and build on the strengths in your relationship. This was a biggie for me, our marriage and our family. (I’d love to hear how your personality strengths helped you determine roles in your relationship and your household.)
The best question I think we were ever asked was, “Are you more committed to being right, or are you committed to moving toward each other?” That question saves us over and over again.
- The recognition that after 17 years we are both different people than we once were. We decided to grieve the loss of our old “friend” who no longer existed, drop our expectations for them to be that person any more, and began dating each other again and getting to know the person each of us is now. We quickly fell in love with each other again. Dropping the assumptions and expectations was huge.
- Swallow my ego and be more agreeable to talking, open minded communication instead of me being full of fear to try to control the situation….
- Accepting that we’re inherently different, so we need to be compassionate to try to understand and “translate” our perspective to each other.
- Forgiveness, marriage counseling (which was late, but better than not at all!) and a spouse who truly stepped up to the plate in counseling by being willing to participate and work at what needed worked at. In turn, that made it easier for me to be willing to look at my own stuff and work at what needed worked at.
Out of 87 responses, 27 people stressed counseling or therapy of some kind.
- Actually liking one another for who we each are. Finding ways to appreciate and value the other person despite differences emotionally, intellectually, physically.
- Compromise. Honesty. Compassion. Taking stock of the small things: a good meal together, a laugh, a hug, etc..
- Intense premarital counseling, creating an environment where honesty and vulnerability can thrive. Being open to and seeking out support and encouragement regularly. Making time for self care for both partners regardless of the stresses. Learning to say no and prioritizing God, spouse, and family in that order.
- I would go a step further with this statement and say that UNSPOKEN expectations are premeditated resentments. It’s those little things we don’t communicate, and expect the other to read our minds.
- Not putting up walls and always talking it out. Being a good listener as well as open to suggestion even when my natural instinct is to hold my position and not give in. I have to remind myself that it’s about US, not just her or just I.
- Communication, talking about issues instead of sweeping them under the rug.
- Remembering that there is absolutely no room for competition in marriage. Realizing that if I am working to prove I am right means I am working hard to make my husband the “loser.” Damaging.
- And when it was too hard for us to do therapy together, I worked on myself… My therapist would say “that sounds hard, but what are YOU going to do about it??“
- Play. Have fun and flirt with one another.
- Practice being kind over being right.
- Ask “what is your goal?”
- Understanding the way your partner communicates.
- Accepting your deficiencies and work on improving them. Ask your partner to accept your uniqueness and ask to help you become a better person. Always work on becoming a better person and expect the same from your partner.
- Talk to each other and understand the space each person needs, but not to be distant.
- Look into each other’s eyes and not say a word.
- Laugh together.
It was amazing how many people said “counseling” and “therapy” – these aren’t people who have it all figured out. We all have to navigate the ups and downs. Marriage, like any relationship, isn’t a “one and done” concept. You can’t simply buy flowers one day and figure you’re covered for romance for a year. And you have to be willing to go beyond yourself and your own ego, making your marriage a priority. Sometimes that outside perspective is what is needed to get you both back on the right track.
In our couples’ coaching, Nathan and I walk with couples together to understand how their personalities blend and how they can best foster each others’ strengths. We help them identify their reactive triggers and learn how to motivate and challenge each other in a positive and supportive way. If you want to know if coaching saves marriages, check this out right now. While I don’t abide by Tony’s style of pressure, I believe there are powerful questions that can open the door to greater change than you ever could imagine.
We guide you to connect in every way, pushing past the ability to simply live together and go from living side-by-side to effectively and intentionally going deeper as intimate partners in love and in life.
Laughter, humble pie, and lots of sex. It’s more than companionship when you strive for that deeper intimacy.
What would you add to this list?
How do you have a marriage that is fully connected and “saved” for the day?
How do you ensure you save your marriage each and every day?
P.S. We have a whole series on marriage on the Mama Says Namaste Podcast – check out the “Laughter, Humble Pie and Lots of Sex” series – it’s Season 2!
Announcements and Offerings
I currently have a handful of openings for 1:1 clients. If you feel you could use support as you explore your own frustrations and create a more empowered, live-giving reality for yourself and your family, I’d be honored to talk with you.
For more information about the work I do, or to sign up for a free session to explore our connection, click here. It really can be better, mama, and you don’t have to go it alone.