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Dr. Nelson de Ramirez, PsyD, MS LMFT
People often ask "what makes a marriage
work?". Marriage is like a child...no two are exactly alike. Each
marriage has it's own unique dynamic and what may work for
one couple does not work for another. However, there are some common areas that
I find many couples struggle with.
1. Stay on topic....when fighting about one issue don't throw in old issues,
other issues and pet peeves just for good measure!
2. Accept Conflict as a Healthy and Normal part of a Relationship
Often couples come in saying "we fight all the time!". Conflict is
normal it's how you deal with conflict that makes the difference. I ask couples
to look at their marriage and deal with conflict the same way they would in
business...negotiate! You wouldn't tell a coworker "that's it, we're
through, you're fired! If you didn't agree on something. You negotiate the
conflict and come to a common ground. Not everyone wins every time and that is
part of being in a marriage. You learn to negotiate and compromise for the
greater good of the relationship.
3. Take Issues at Face Value
Don't automatically think "what you really mean....." This is unfair,
unhealthy and leaves your partner feeling like they need to defend themselves
against things they haven't said or don't feel.
4. Be willing to let go....or loose
It's ok to agree to disagree. You don't always have to win. Surrendering in
order to make peace or keep the peace is ok. Consider when the
relationship is more important than being right.
5. No Below the Belt Fighting
Keep it clean. Don't say to your partner what you would never say to your
friend, boss or other family member. We know how to hurt our partners on a very
deep level. Below the belt statements can erode at the very foundation of your
6. Use Caution When Letting Outsiders In
The last thing you want is to have your best friend holding a grudge with
your partner after you've made up-awkward! Be cautious about inviting too many
peoples opinions in on your relationship. Know who you are talking to and if they
understand you are just venting.
7. Be a Team
Don't try to micro-manage your partner. Don't loose your identity in the
marriage...continue to pursue your dreams and support one another. Too often
couples loose themselves in the marriage and are left with a lot of resentment.
Often, no one has asked their partner to give up their dreams....they just do and then the blame game starts.