How to Make Your Marriage More Sustainable

Plenty of marriages survive for the sake of children, religious expectations, or economic reasons. During this economic recession, this may be clear to you if you’re staying in a stale marriage because you can’t financially survive on your own right now. We know this can be disheartening and make you unhappy with your situation, because we all want a bond with a significant other, a bond that is satisfying and uplifting.

Did you know that even a stale marriage like this can be returned a more sustainable marriage - a marriage that actually lives, not just survives? Let’s look at what a sustainable marriage looks like:

A lasting marriage, of course, needs good communication, emotional stability, and mutual support. However, this is something that friends do for each other as well, right? A sustainable marriage is one that sustains (gives life and sustenance to) the individuals themselves. This means that you have to break away from the idea of “us” for a moment, and ask how your marriage is sustaining you personally. Are your intellectual, emotional (and/or sexual) needs being met? Or is this just an economic transaction? Do you see yourself wanting as "going somewhere" with your partner, or are you waiting to get off at the next stop? Why were you attracted to them in the first place? What did you hope to receive?

But it’s not just about you. We can understand a healthy marriage as having what Caryl Rusbult, a researcher at Vrije University in Amsterdam, called the “Michelangelo effect.” Each person in a lively, satisfying relationship “sculpts” the other, through communication and openness, to meeting their needs. Essentially, you tell your partner what you need, they help you, and you do the same in return. Thus, although a sustainable marriage is about the individual and his/her needs, sometimes it’s about the “me,” and sometimes it’s about the “you.”

Your marriage can be more satisfying and healthy when you and your partner engage in this sort of support of one another. Not only can you satisfy emotional needs, but you can learn more about each other, yourselves and your views of the world by achieving a better kind of intimacy. You can even pursue new interests and activities together in an effort to connect on a deeper level of understanding and support, and challenge each other to become better people in the world and better providers in the relationship. New experiences and more confidence help you grow both as people and as a couple, because our way of seeing ourselves changes when our view of the world is broadened.

Some researchers even suggest that as you begin to grow as a couple (by experiencing new things together), you begin to find similar traits and goals. But this doesn’t mean boredom and being the same person; it means that the couple is engaged in improving and seeking out new experiences often. Your relationship thus becomes more sustainable when you’re both seeking to improve and satisfy each other on a personal level. So if you’re struggling in a marriage that’s making you bored, remember, the marriage can’t improve if you and your partner don’t! Get out there and do something new - maybe you need to start with an honest communication with your partner?

Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Sign up for free, here on her blog, to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! We can begin by you having a complimentary consultation with Dr. Nora. Visit her coaching site today to talk with Dr. Nora and receive a plan for action to change your life. She's ready to help!

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