I recently spoke with Virginia Pelley from Fatherly.com about how marriages stay happy. What a loaded topic right? But really, how do marriages stay happy? This is a great question and I honestly believe there is no “one size fits all” answer. Each relationship is unique and has its own set of needs to be met, but there are a few signs that can point to a couple with a strong relationship.
One of those signs, arguably the most important one, is the ability to maintain a friendship within a marriage. The basis of friendship within a marriage is the ability to care for our partner and to have fondness and admiration for them. These three actions are part of the lower level of John Gottman’s “Sound Relationship House,” and they give us something to build upon.
“But like a real house, if something is going on with the slab or in the crawl space and you try to put the enormous weight of a house on it, you’re asking too much of the foundation and will have problems.”
So, if we ever come to feel that our foundation is a little shaky, we may have some more issues on hand. If we are not feeling a sense of warmth and companionship in our marriage, we will find it extremely difficult to connect with our partner. We should be able to trust that when we come home after a tough day at work, we can rely on our partner to be there to comfort us.
This in no way means that we should rely solely on our partner for comfort either. It is quite the opposite. Successful marriages are composed of two individual people who come together to share their worlds. In other words, we should be friends and still have friends.
When we have a solid foundation as friends we will become more interested in our partner’s hobbies, work life, and friendships. We will trust that they can make good decisions for themselves and our partnership. And when things get tough, we can give our partners advice as a friend and not as someone who “has stake” in a situation.
Some of the other signs included accentuating the positive, managing stress well, and sharing world views. You can read the full article here.