So, now you’re married! 

But guess what! Being married isn’t always unending bliss. In fact, more than half of newly married couples express shock and surprise at the amount of conflict they experience with their new spouses within six months of hearing wedding bells. So, if the luster has come off the rose in your marriage, don’t be alarmed; it’s only natural.

Check out some of our healthy marriage workshops on the “Programs & Services” page.

Meanwhile, here are some hints to being “happily married:”

The Top 10 Ways to Guarantee a Successful Marriage…

1. Forget about getting your needs met. Getting your needs met is a failed concept for couples. Focus on your spouse and what you can do for them. This is the best way to bring out the best in both of you.

2. Keep some meaningful rituals in your relationship. Whether it’s having a dinner conversation after work every night or taking a long walk, have something in place that allows you to stay in touch with each others’ lives.

3. Have a five-to-one ratio of positive to negative interactions. There should be five hugs, compliments, or squeezes of the arm for every roll of the eyes, every criticism, or every episode of blaming.

4. Be relentless in your pursuit of self-improvement and trying to be a better spouse. Healthy marriages tend to grow and change. This means that you must be willing to try on new behaviors and to take some risks.

5. Make your marriage full of special surprises. Marriages are more alive and exciting when there are surprises sprinkled in to them. Surprise your spouse with a vacation, a special date night, flowers, candy, or anything else that excites them.

6. Take great self care. If you’re all stressed out and unhappy, you’re going to be a bear to be around! Make sure that you follow a program of self care that allows you to give energy to the relationship.

7. Develop a common interest that you can share together. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together. It’s nice to have an activity to share that helps you to enjoy that time together. Whether it’s golfing, traveling, or shopping, find your common interests and turn them into pleasurable experiences.

8. Focus on being kind and not on being right. It’s easy to spend time showing your spouse that you’re right. Focus on being kind instead and you’ll argue less and enjoy each other more.

9. When things do get heated, commit to a plan that works. Don’t say things in the heat of the moment that may do damage to your relationship. Have a plan in place that may include: walking away, continuing the discussion at a later date, or some sort of relaxation response.

10. Develop a great network of support around you. Whether it’s friends or family, have a group of people that you spend time with whom you can confide in and share times with. It always helps to know that others are going through the same things you are.

[by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, Certified personal coach, Masters Degree in counseling psychology, author of Fix Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself at the Same Time), Certified Personal Coach, who can be reached at mark@markbrandenburg.com, or visited on the web. Copyright 1997 – 2003 CoachVille]

Potential Events or Resources for you:

2×2: The Noah Project
The Marriage Adventure
Smart Marriages Website
10 Great Dates
Various Marriage Retreats