If you are married and reading this article, by now you know the up’s and down’s of being in a married life. Whatever your marriage situation is. If you want to learn how to strengthen your marriage, continue reading..
To be honest strengthening your marriage is not easy. It’s because you have no control over your partner’s behavior.
But the good thing is you have enormous control over yourself, your response to your spouse, your communication with your spouse and your future behavior.
In order to strengthen your marriage, you will need to change your own attitude, your approach, and your behavior.
Let’s start with your attitude. We’ve already established that you can see, very clearly, your partner’s faults.
“If only he/she could see how wrong he/she is and how right I am!” “If only he/she would admit that I’m right!”
The point I want to convey is that you can do nothing you can do to change another person, and that everything you’ve tried to strengthen your marriage up until now has failed.
What I’m asking of you here may be a little bit hard to imagine at first, but it is critically important to your success and over all health of your marriage.
I’m asking you to try to rein in your ego and accept your marriage situation the way it is for now.
So, if you’re ready let’s understand how to strengthen your marriage in 8 simple steps mentioned below.
#1 LET GO OF YOUR NEED TO BE RIGHT.
You may be absolutely right in your belief that your partner’s behavior is a major problem in your marriage.
But your need for acknowledgement of your “rightness” is creating stress in your relationship.
In your fight for acknowledgement you are probably behaving in ways that are damaging for your relationship, such as pouting, nagging or yelling.
Look at it this way – even if you do get the acknowledgement you desire, it will get you nowhere other than being right.
You might feel better, but it won’t solve any problems and your marriage will remain in crisis. You will have achieved nothing useful.
Once your ego has eased up and you put less stock in being right, you can start putting effort into things that matter – doing things to save your marriage. It doesn’t matter who is “at fault”.
You, acting on your own, can assess areas in your relationship that you think could be improved by a change in your behavior.
Your new attitude opens the door to a new approach to fix your marriage problems.
Your new attitude can lift you out of the rut you were stuck in and give you the power to make a difference in your relationship.
Now that you are letting go of the need to be right, you can work to save your marriage with more of a win / win approach.
#2 Always Stay Calm and Strong.
If you want to strength and confidence in your married life. Learn to calm, brave and positive.
It helps a lot to keep the end in mind. What is your goal? Your goal is a regaining happy, conflict free marriage.
If you always keep this goal in mind, it will be easier to approach your task in a positive way, putting aside any temptation to argue or retaliate.
It is important to keep in mind that your goal is to be a happy couple, and so there doesn’t need to be a winner or a loser.
Remember, your desire to save your marriage will provide the motivation for you to approach your task with confidence and a positive outlook.
At the same time commit to positive change in your behavior. You are the one who will be making changes.
You will give up what doesn’t work and start making small changes in your own behavior that your spouse will notice and appreciate.
Note that a married life has three different stages.
#3. Emotional Withdrawal.
And I believe your marriage in the challenged stage and before it moves to the Emotional Withdrawal stage you need to strengthen your marriage and get it back again to the blissful stage.
#3. Take Care of Your Connection Account.
One of the most sensible and powerful concepts I have ever heard is that of the Emotional Bank Account developed by the late Stephen Covey in his 1989 book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
Covey’s Emotional Bank Account is an invisible, but real, account based on how much trust you feel with another person.
You know how your financial bank account works. You deposit money in your account and when you need to use it, you withdraw some.
The withdrawal depletes your account a bit, so you need to make more deposits in order to keep your account at a healthy balance.
Stephen Covey spoke of the Emotional Bank Account as an account of personal trust instead of money.
The units that he refers to, the ones that we withdraw and deposit, are emotional units that center around trust.
Covey said that we maintain a personal “emotional” bank account with everyone we have a relationship with; our family, friends and co-workers.
The account begins with a neutral balance when we meet and we make withdrawals and deposits in the other person’s account through our behavior with them.
When we make deposits, the other person’s trust, confidence and fondness for us grows, and therefore our relationship develops and grows.
If we can manage to keep a positive balance in that account, the other person will be more trusting and open with us, and will be more likely to tolerate any mistakes that we might make.
When we make withdrawals through our bad behavior, our balance reduces or even becomes overdrawn and mistrust and friction will develop.
If we want to salvage the relationship, we have to make an effort to make regular deposits and avoid further withdrawals.
#4. Understanding the Individual is Key to Strengthening Your Marriage.
To really understand what another person is feeling requires us to stop concentrating on ourselves and try put ourselves in their shoes.
By this I mean we need to really listen to what they are saying and try to understand their thought patterns and then empathize with them.
It is important pay attention to what the other person is saying and feeling and to be kind and understanding towards them.
#5. Keeping Commitments
One of the most important things you can do to make deposits in an emotional bank account is to follow through on your commitments.
It is important to keep your promises and to do it in a timely way. When you break your promises to others, you make major withdrawals from your account with them.
Keeping commitments also includes being on time, reliably fulfilling your own duties and living up to everything you say.
#6. Clarifying Expectations.
It’s important that the person you’re interacting with understands exactly what is expected of them.
There is nothing more frustrating than not understanding what is expected of you, yet it’s remarkable how often we expect other people to simply know what we want when we haven’t asked for it.
By clarifying your expectations about what the other person should do, you will help them to feel more confident and therefore make deposits in your account.
#7. Attending to the Little Things.
The “little things” can be very big things in another person’s mind, and yet many people forget to do them.
Little things include saying thanks, kind words, considerate actions, warm smiles, small kindnesses.
They show awareness and appreciation of the other person. They take little time or energy, but they show recognition and respect and will become very big deposits.
#8. Showing Personal Integrity.
I’ll admit my bias right here – integrity is the one virtue that stands out above all others for me. Nothing is more damaging to a relationship than lack of integrity.
Integrity is the solid moral foundation upon which all relationships are built. Without integrity, there can be no trust, and therefore the emotional bank account will be empty or even overdrawn.
#9. Apologizing When We Make a Withdrawal.
We are all human (well, I assume you’re human!). Humans make mistakes. You can be sure it will happen, and you can minimize the damage by apologizing.
Knowing when you are wrong and admitting you made a mistake can prevent the hurt you have caused from festering and becoming worse.
A sincere apology can stop the withdrawal from the emotional bank account and maintain the current balance.
When your trust level with another person is high, your relationship is easy.
If you accidently make a mistake or insult the other person, the impact is far less damaging because you can draw on the reserves in your emotional bank account.
Conversely, if you are rude, disrespectful and sarcastic your emotional bank account will have a negative balance and the other person will neither like nor trust you.
All of our relationships, especially with our spouse and close family members, require constant deposits to the emotional bank account.
If we forget to be mindful of our accounts and start to assume that others will continue to care for us even if we make withdrawals instead of deposits, trust will be lost and our relationships will suffer.
I will stop here. I believe you truly admired this article on how to strengthen your marriage with 9 powerful steps.
Now, before I leave I would love to SHARE with you with a special program that is so powerful that will enhance your married life and bring the spark back into it.