We frequently are asked if Marriage Counseling can help build a stronger marriage. If your partner doesn’t want to attend marriage counseling, there are things you can do individually to help build a stronger marriage. It certainly helps if both parties are willing to work on the marriage. And marriage counseling can’t fix every problem in your marriage if both of you aren’t actively working on the relationship. However, there are some basic steps you can take to improve the quality of your relationship. Often we find that when one person starts seriously trying to change their behavior, then the more resistant person will realize just how serious you are about saving your marriage.
Build a Stronger Marriage: 4 Communication Strategies
- Keep it Simple. Focus your conversations on one topic at a time. Describe the problem in 3 sentences or less. Don’t start dragging up everything that bothers you when you have an honest conversation with your partner. If you want to build a stronger marriage and prevent possible divorce, open communication is vital to your success. Many problems couples face can be easily resolved with better communication skills. This doesn’t mean that couples aren’t talking enough. Some couples are talking too much. Don’t overload your partner with the fact that he doesn’t do the dishes, doesn’t pick up his dirty clothes, never comes home from work on time, and hasn’t held your hand in 6 months. That is just information overload for him and makes it more likely for him to shut down and “Not want to talk about it.”
- Use I-statements the right way. Just because a sentence begins with “I think” or “I feel” doesn’t make it an effective communication skill. If you want to build a stronger marriage, you can’t hide behind “Well, I used an I-statement” when you began your conversation with “I feel like you’re a domineering, condescending jerk.” I-statements are a way to express how you feel. I-statements are a way to keep the finger pointing to a minimum. But they can be used in the wrong way. If you feel like your partner is domineering, then try, “I feel like I can’t voice my own opinions if they are different from yours.”
- Invite what you dread. If you are sick and tired of hearing your husband debate on what to do with his parents’ house now that they’re in a nursing home, then invite him to talk about it. Initiate the conversation. Let him know that you are listening. Talk about it thoroughly. Let him get everything off his chest all at once (which could spare you from having to bring it up over and over again). To build a stronger marriage, you’re going to have to tackle the tough stuff. You don’t have to resolve the problem right away, but you do have to have your partner feel like he is really heard.
- Praise your partner. In the early stages of romantic relationships, praising your partner comes easy. There’s just so much that you love about the person. The longer we’re in relationships, the easier it is to forget to praise your partner. Be specific with your praise. Simply saying, “You’re the greatest” isn’t enough to build a stronger marriage. What specifically makes your partner the greatest? Try praising your partner by saying, “I love your sense of humor” or “Thank you for changing the oil in my car.”
If you want to build a stronger marriage, then it may be time to see a marriage counselor. Marriage counseling can help you resolve your communication problems and other problems in your relationship. Heartland Counseling Center offers marriage counseling to work with you as a couple to get to the core of your problems and give you skills to build a stronger marriage and start solving your problems before it’s too late. Call us Today!