Sheri Meyers (Marriage and Family Therapist) gives expert video advice on: What's the secret to a happy marriage?; What does a loving, intimate relationship consist of?; How can I make my marriage stronger? and more...
What does a loving, intimate relationship consist of?
A loving, intimate relationship consists of a deep friendship where you hold each others hands and say, "I'll stand by you." Look at the word 'intimacy': in-to-me-see. It's about being open, about showing who you really are, letting your partner see you and allowing your partner to show themselves fully to you.
What are some common myths about marriage?
Beware of some of the myths you might be carrying into your marriage such as, 'My partner's going to be turned on all the time', 'Romance is going to never die' or 'Love is going to get us through every problem.' These myths and more are set up expectations, and they can be deadly to a marriage because the minute a disappointment happens, all our hopes drain. It's important to take a look at the myths that you carry, and look at what you are expecting from your marriage, and see if it's realistic or not.
What challenges will I face early in my marriage?
Often we're not prepared for the challenges that come into our marriage. We expect it to be a constant, but there are ebbs and flows, ins and outs. You're going to feel closer to your partner sometimes and not so close others. Marriage is to hold on to love no matter what, whether the tide is in or the tide is out. That's one of our greatest challenges. Another challenge that we need to learn to face in marriage is when conflict happens. Often, what will happen is when we become disappointed or our partner gets angry with us, we personalize it and look at it as a failure: a failure of our relationship, a failure of our love. It's really important to know that disappointments and conflict happen, it has nothing to do with love. Your love can remain constant even if you disagree with your partner. This is also a challenge. Some of the biggest challenges we have to face when we first get married are the changes. Sometimes our partner might get fat, or our sex life changes. Before we get married, there's lots of sex, then we get married and suddenly kids come and there's not the love and the attention and the attraction there used to be. The change in our lifestyle sometimes really shakes us to the core. Just know change happens and marriage is about learning how to flow with the change. That's the challenge and that's the gift of marriage.
What is a 'love account'?
Think of a marriage as a love account. You might say a love savings account. When you see the balance grow, just like your bank account, you have to keep adding deposits or wonderful loving things you might say to each other. It's doing nice deeds: they are all the deposits in your love account.
What are 'withdrawals' in love accounts?
Let's look at what a withdrawal is in a marriage. A withdrawal from your love account is rude behavior, treating your partner meanly, discounting your partner, putting your partner down, or turning away from your partner. These take a huge toll on your relationship and your emotional closeness.
How do we make more love deposits than withdrawals?
Researchers have found that couples in successful marriages make five love deposits for every withdrawal. That means five really loving, positive actions. Do that every day, and I promise you, your marriage is going to be so much stronger and happier.
Is it normal to wonder if I married the wrong person?
I married the wrong person. It takes a lot of work to get the puzzle pieces of our lives to fit together. Until we really learn how to do that, we are going to have some disagreements and problems. We all have different needs that we come into the marriage with. Marriage is really about learning how to get those needs met, not necessarily pushing away your partner because currently your need isn't being met.
What if I think I married the wrong person?
You may think that you married the wrong person if you're feeling depressed and disappointed, or if your partners are not living up to your expectation. There is lot of work to do before crash and burn. We can seek couples' counseling when it is really out of your control. My suggestion is to sit down talk with your partner in a marriage. Let them know how you feeling and tell them what you want. There is a simple formula you can use: "I like...", "I feel...", "I think...", "I believe...". Start with "I" and not with "you". Then you can clear a lot more issues in your marriage then you are now.
What is the best advice for newly married couples?
I'm going to share with you what I have learned in my years of counseling couples. That is: you are building a foundation together. What do you want to put into this foundation to make it strong? Earthquakes are going to happen - they just do. But if you have a strong foundation, and you are holding each other's hands, you can get through anything in your marriage.