Celebrating 15 Years Of Community
By: Mozelle Forman
Through my work with couples I have discovered a universal truth about individuals in relationships: each of us wants to be recognized for our strengths, forgiven our weaknesses, and feel loved and respected.
When we marry we share an unspoken goal: Let us develop a relationship where I applaud your successes and you applaud mine; where you and I help one another through our hardships, validate our disappointments, and develop an understanding of one another that is free from judgment. We each focus primarily on bringing happiness and pleasure to the other, overlooking any flaws, and expressing gratitude and appreciation freely.
This is how all relationships begin - an exciting adventure, where everything is open to possibility. The mysteries of our lives are still mysterious; our curiosity about one another is alive and fresh. And most of all, the start of any new relationship is wonderful because neither one of us has had a chance to mess up, make a mistake, or hurt the other, and we haven’t yet made negative judgments about one another.
There is no doubt that most of us would want to be involved in relationships that provide this kind of positive regard. And yet, statistics tell us that over 50% of marriages end in divorce. How do relationships that begin with love and acceptance disintegrate into acrimony and judgment? Is it possible to sustain that sense of wonder, that willingness to let things slide, that feeling that being together is more important than winning arguments or getting our way? Absolutely, resoundingly, yes!
Regardless of how long you have been married, adding or enhancing the tools I will share in this column will help you and your spouse create a foundation on which to build an enduring relationship and meaningful marriage. The first brick in the foundation of your marriage is appreciation. Make it a point to verbally appreciate your spouse every, single, day. Use positive language, such as, “I appreciate that you did…” rather than “thanks for not doing…”. Whether you are feeling close right now or not, whether your spouse is reciprocating or not, make it a practice. More next month.
Mozelle Forman is a clinical social worker in private practice for 20 years. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org