What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, better looking, or more on the ball. They may even argue at times. But in their day-to-day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. If you can accommodate your spouse’s strange side and handle it with caring, affection and respect, your marriage can thrive.
Happy marriages are based on deep friendship, a mutual respect for the enjoyment of each other’s company. They know each other intimately. They are well versed in each others likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes and dreams. They have an abiding concern and consideration for each other and express this fondness, not just in big ways but in the little ways day in and day out.
For example: This kind of couple, both of them, lead very busy lives, he’s away from home due to long hours at work, yet they stay connected. They talk frequently on the phone during the day. When she has a doctor’s appointment, he remembers to call and see how it went. When he has a meeting with an important client, she’ll ask how it went. When they have chicken for dinner she gives him all the white meat because she knows he likes that best. When he makes pancakes for the kids Saturday morning, he’ll leave the blueberries out because he knows she doesn’t like them. And although she’s not crazy about spending a lot of time with their relatives, she has pursued a friendship with his mother and sisters because family matters so much to him.
Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling negative about your spouse. This means that the positive thoughts about each other and their marriage are so powerful that they tend to supersede their negative feelings. Once a marriage becomes overwhelmingly negative – it will be more difficult to repair it.
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