Chances are, if you’re like most people, you fell in love and couldn’t imagine life without your partner. So you got married. Simple, right? Except you are binding yourself to a person for a lifetime and after awhile you begin to wonder. Yes, you’re happily married. Yes, you’ve endured, taken the good with the bad. The really great moments when your kids shine in the holiday pageant. Or the really gross times when you clean up after your spouse’s vomit. But overall, you’re pretty happy. Can you improve on the situation?

After all, in all the other important areas of your life you are fairly assiduous about maximizing the experience. You keep a steady eye on opportunities at work. You make sure your kids get the best chances at developing their skills. You keep on top of your health. In short, you improve and fine-tune every aspect of your life except your marriage, which pretty much runs on remote control. Why not make improvements in that, too?

What Makes A Good Marriage? Nancy'S Counseling Corner

First, though, you have to agree on what makes a good marriage. Here are some thoughts:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You respect her. She respects you. You might respect different aspects of her behavior, like her professionalism on the job. While she respects the way you keep a cool head in heated situations. But in general, you both respect each other.

Mutual like. And you like each other, too. You feel comfortable, safe. You would rather be around her than just about anyone else. And she’d rather be with you. Sure it’s good to be with friends and family, too, but if you each had to choose whom you most want to spend time with, you’d choose each other.

Shared values. You both feel certain qualities are important, and for the most part, you both live your lives accordingly. You’re honest, generous, decent, loyal, and fair. And so is she. You both have similar ideas of what morals are important and generally you live up to them.

Emotional support. You can count on her when you’ve had a bad day at the office, and she can count on you. This is because she is central to your world, and you to hers. She can’t feel good until you do. Together, you can beat those blues. You are both grounded in reality, and you meet problems head-on. On the flip side, you can both feel genuine joy in each other’s achievements and victories. There’s no jealousy or one-up-man ship. Because what’s great for your spouse makes you happy and vice versa.

You’re special. Both of you, as a couple, are worthy of being loved. You each have something that brings out the best in the other. Your marriage is greater than the sum of its parts. You have a unique fit between one partner’s needs and the other’s ability to fill those needs. A yin and yang relationship that makes you each feel lucky to be married to the other. You both make the marriage a success.

Equitable chores. You should both feel you’re pulling your weight fairly equally. Sure, there will be times when you have to pitch in a little more to make your household run smoothly. Or maybe you have a big crunch time at work so she has to take up your slack. But in general, you’re both pretty happy about the way you each contribute.

If you discuss what you both think makes a good marriage you may discover a few things you’d like to tweak. There are always ways to make improvements. But if you basically agree that your marriage is pretty good, why not just enjoy your good fortune?

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:

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