6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

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Keeping the Fire Of Romance Alive In Your Marriage
Keeping the Fire Of Romance Alive In Your Marriage

6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

Jim Daly President, Focus on the Family

6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

Every marriage contains its share of challenges. There will be difficult seasons in even the happiest of unions. It might be an overstatement to compare marriage to a rollercoaster, but even a healthy relationship is like a country road, with its twists and turns and occasional dips. The key is how you respond to the challenges.  6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

Too many couples—especially Christian couples—expect perfection. If you’re going through a rough patch, is it possible you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? With the help of Dr. John Gottman, I’ve listed six criteria of healthy marriages that I’d like to share them with you. 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

1. High levels of friendship, respect, affection, and humor

This is defined as liking each other, being each other’s best friend, doing things together; showing interest in and respect for the other’s thoughts and feelings, avoiding put-downs, supporting each other’s goals and aspirations, feeling affection for each other, having fun and laughter together, being number one in each other’s eyes. 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

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2. A ratio of 5:1 or better of positive to negative interactions

This means that your relationship averages at least five pleasant, friendly, or loving experiences or periods of time for every hostile word, angry argument, or time spent feeling hurt or resentful. And 5:1 is the minimum! 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

3. Successful “bids for attention”

When a wife says, “Hey, listen to this!” she is trying to get her husband’s attention for a conversation. If the husband keeps on scrolling through Facebook, ignoring her, he’s turning away her bid for attention. If he says “Huh?” and lifts his eyes off the sports page for a second or two, he’s turning toward her—a good sign. And if he actually listens to what she has to say, that’s a real connection! In successful marriages, partners turn toward each other an average of 86 percent of the time. In divorcing couples, the average is 33 percent.

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4. Soft starts of disagreements

In successful marriages, disagreements are started softly, without critical, contemptuous remarks about the other person. 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

5. Husband accepts influence from wife

In successful marriages, husbands accept influence from their wives. If a wife says she’s afraid her husband is driving too fast and he responds in irritation, “I know what I’m doing!” this is a shaky marriage. There must be give and take in a relationship. Research shows that women are accustomed to accepting influence from men. So it’s crucial that men learn to do the same! 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage 6 Things That Make for a Healthy Marriage

6. Respect for each other’s needs, likes, dislikes, and inner life

They ask questions to find out; they listen; they care!

How did you fare? I pray that you sense the urgency in my words when I remind you that next to your relationship with the Lord, the best investment you can make here on earth is the relationship with your spouse. So much hinges on the health of our marriage. Yes, marriage is difficult. But remember, it’s not designed to make us happy (though it ultimately will); it’s designed to make us holy. 

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