Fireproofing Your Marriage
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There is an increasing body of research that tells us how to "fireproof" a marriage. People have long labored under false ideas about what it takes to form and then sustain a long-term, loving relationship. Some people have the idea that they must find a "soul mate," one person who is destined to meet their needs. Current research shows that while we do need someone who connects with us emotionally, good marriages are not written in the stars. Instead, they are created by our ability to connect: a skill that can be learned and improved upon.
Dating services frequently stress the importance of compatibility, but compatibility has more to do with forming a relationship than with keeping one going. We break up when we are unable to deal with the negatives in the marriage. In other words, it's not the problems themselves that kill the marriage, but our inability to cope effectively with the problems. This inability is essentially the result of habits that erode the foundation of the connection in the marriage.
Recent research indicates that the wish to have a close, emotional connection with others is a fundamental human need. If that deep intimate connection is not present in our marriage, we will grow unhappy, dissatisfied, and perhaps look elsewhere for that need to be fulfilled.
Here are a few tips on how to fireproof your marriage:
Translate your spouse's complaints about you as a desire for a closer connection. For example, an argument about how much time a husband spends at the office is probably really about a loss of emotional intimacy.
Maintain other emotional connections with friends and family. If your spouse has to meet all of your emotional needs, the burden can be excessive and can strain the marriage.
Keep regular contacts with your spouse by phone, e-mail, or even notes to indicate your desire to have an ongoing, emotional connection.
You cannot rely on your partner "knowing" that you love her. Marriages need continual displays of caring. As those diminish, so does marital satisfaction.
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