So many people including Hollywood celebrities attend couples therapy even though they have busy schedules –including going on tour or business trips (Thank you, Tele-therapy!). They admit that marriage requires work. In the words of Ben Affleck: “The best kind of work”… Some of them attend counseling as a “preventive measure” like Cameron Diaz or “maintenance” as stated by singer Pink; others are desperately looking for a lifeline because they don’t want to give up on their relationships. Behind closed doors, they have the same marriage, family issues and needs as regular people do, and they seek for a satisfying and long lasting marriage… I’m sure you do, too.
Finding those lifelines so we can have a satisfying marriage is surely what most couples aim. We get married with the hope of living the story of the couple in “The Notebook”, where we love each other dearly until death do us part. I mean, how romantic is it that the husband in the movie dies from a broken heart holding her hand! And by the way, there are real life examples of this.
So, if we truly aspire to make a marriage last forever, how do we make that happen?
Some people consider that marriage is their final destination so if it doesn’t work they walk away, but marriage is actually the beginning of a new life. Now, let’s think of relationships as living organisms. Living organisms need nourishment and special attention to survive. There are “must haves” for most organisms to live, like water, food, air, and sleep. Let’s learn what are those “must haves” for relationships. I like calling these relationships “lifelines” because they are that important for marriages to succeed.
Let’s learn what the two lifelines needed for a satisfying marriage:
Marriage is a promise to yourself and your partner to do everything possible to make it work and be together forever. Commitment is defined in the dictionary as devotion, dedication, fidelity to a cause. To be committed to your marriage is when you and your spouse are wholeheartedly dedicated to the relationship and all around it.
You may feel goose bumps if you just realized that you’re short of this important element. But don’t worry, there are ways to learn how to have a commitment in the relationship because commitment is shown through actions.Commitment is about investing in the relationship no matter what. Both have to do their part. Of course, there are exceptions like chronic infidelity, aggression, and violence when other measures have to be taken.These are my suggestions regarding “Commitment”:
– Be there for your spouse and for the relationship.
– If you disagree on something your partner is suggesting, like buying a new car and you prefer to use that money on new furniture, then talk about it openly, listen respectfully to each other’s opinion and compromise for the good of the marriage.
– Commit to him/her to do the best you can to make it work because you want to be with him/her, not need to be with him/her. Remember, you choose each other every day because love is freedom. Marriage has its constraints, but not giving up is what commitment is about.
Think of commitment as the fuel your marriage needs to keep on going. Dedication is as important as a runner to his training for a competition. He commits to training no matter how bad the weather is because he wants to win the race.
“Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep it flourishing and growing.”Jim Rohn
The second lifeline needed for a satisfying marriage is trust. When you trust your partner you connect with him/her, consequently, it brings intimacy, too. This second lifeline together with commitment would be the foundation that holds your marriage. Having said that, try to honor it every day to make your marriage last. Trust is built through very small moments when you feel that your spouse needs you.
Here are some suggestions regarding “Trust”:
– Turn toward each other every time as needed.
– Do some activities together that you both enjoy, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.
– Try being understanding when your spouse is upset and show empathy with his/her feelings.
– Try being transparent and clear about what you need and want.
– Try to spend time talking to your spouse about how your day went, etc. Don’t hide anything from him/her if you want to keep the trust element intact.
As I always say, good communication is key and being trustworthy is essential for your relationship – do not disregard this.
Sofia M. Robirosa
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.