Blog 1: Building a Strong Marriage Starts With YOU

A common question that comes up as a therapist is “How do I make my marriage better?” And that’s a complicated because nothing is a quick fix, and every marriage is going to be different. But in this series of blogs I’m going to try and walk you through some things that you and your spouse can work on to strengthen your marriage. 

The “Usual” Questions

 There are two questions that we need to look at when it comes to improving a marriage. 

  1. How do I need my spouse to change so that my marriage is better?
  2. How does my partner need me to change so that my marriage is better?

This is a frustrating mindset to have because when you think about all of the things your spouse “needs” to change to make you happy you can become resentful and angry. 

And when you think of things you “need” to change, you can become defensive and justifying your behaviors. 

How to Approach Marriage

Both of these mindsets are unhelpful and unhealthy.

A better way of thinking is:

  1. How do I want to improve myself? 
  2. How do I want to grow and develop?

Thinking in this light makes you more empowered and motivated to be the best version of yourself you can be. When you do this, you inherently make your marriage better by both of you being the best versions of yourselves.

Part 1: work on yourself.

The healthier we are as individuals, the better our marriage is going to be. If you don’t have a strong sense of yourself, you bring insecurity into the marriage, which will eventually make it crumble. 

This leads me to part 2.

Part 2: I, A, and H. 

I

We are all “I’s” i.e. Individuals. I can stand on my own. I am self-sufficient. I am me. 

A

When you enter a relationship, you might lean on each other for support, making an A. I support you, you support me, I couldn’t do this on my own. 

This is great in theory but not in reality. If you are only as strong as the unit (A) and someone doesn’t pull their weight, they start to lean on you. This can cause strain in a relationship and foster resentment and overwhelm. 

H

Looking at the relationship as an rather than an is a healthier concept and actually works. 

I still am who I am, I can stand alone and be independent, but we have this bridge that connects us and is there when we need a little support. We can still be individuals but also make each other stronger and support each other in healthy ways. If one person crumbles, the other is still strong and standing rather than dragging the other person down with them. 

Building that strong sense of self will be the foundations in building that strong relationship between you and your spouse. It may seem counter intuitive, but a stronger and healthier you will lead to a stronger and healthier marriage.