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Reflections on My Anniversary

Couples Counseling

In celebration of my wedding anniversary, I wanted to share my thoughts about some of the things that contribute to a great marriage. I will list my 10 pieces of advice as I sit here reflecting on the things I’ve learned in my own marriage. For each of these items, there is an underlying theme: to have a great marriage, you have to have it as a priority to make one. If you have this one key ingredient, and a partner who has it too, you are in good hands. However, I thought I’d add some more specifics! 

These are things that I myself have not perfected and am frequently reminding myself of. I share this because, even as a marriage therapist, I want to emphasize that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. I do not have one, and I am not a perfect wife. But you can have a *great* marriage. A great marriage consists of many strengths, but also continually works on its flaws. Here are some my tips on how to do this!

  1. Make occasions! Celebrate milestones and create reasons to have fun or connect. 
  2. Let go of any message you ever heard that things are supposed to come easy or naturally. A great marriage (and great communication, sex, etc) is a process of learning, growing, adapting, being intentional, planning. Nothing should be taken for granted to exist if it’s not nurtured. 
  3. Talk about things that hurt or bother you as soon as you can, instead of bottling them up or exploding. *And make sure your partner feels safe and encouraged to share these feelings. Create space for these conversations intentionally and do your best to not emotionally punish your partner for sharing. 
  4. Believe that you BOTH have a part and contribute to anything coming up. Dealing with it as a team, and being open to hearing about your side, will get you much further than blame. 
  5. Have a forgiving heart. Some hurts need to be addressed, but some also need to be treated with grace. In these early years of marriage, it is such a process of figuring things out. When possible, give your partner the benefit of the doubt that they will do better. 
  6. Learn the ways that your partner shows you love and learn to appreciate those. *Also teach them what is meaningful to you, and reciprocate 
  7. Make it an assumption that if you see your partner is angry or upset, there is hurt or fear underlying it. Be curious and kind, ignore the reactivity, and get to the underlying issue. 
  8. Learn the ways your partner takes care of themselves and support that as much as you can. Celebrate and support the time they take with friends, family, or just for themselves. 
  9. Recognize your own faults or weaknesses in the relationship and make it an intention to work on those. A great marriage is made up of two individuals who consider themselves a work in progress. 
  10. Be playful as much as you can!!

I hope these tips are helpful for you and please know me and Therapy With Heart are here as a resource to support your relationship and move it towards *great*

This Post Written By:
Kelsey Riddle, MS, LMFT – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380
Fax: (480) 203-2881