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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day: 5 Steps to a Long and Happy Marriage

It's Valentine's Day, a reminder, if you're in a relationship, to show your appreciation for your spouse or partner. When you're in a long term relationship, it's easy for both people to take each other for granted and forget to show love and appreciation.

Happy Valentine's Day
Here are a few tips for having a long and happy marriage:

1. Remember what brought you together when you first fell in love:
In long-term relationships and marriages, it's easy to fall into the negative habit of nitpicking and fault finding.  While you can't always expect that you'll feel the same passion and head-over-heels in love feelings you felt when you first met, it helps to remember the positive things that brought you together and reinforce those things in your relationship.  For instance, if an interest in music brought you together, when was the last time the two of you went to a concert with your favorite artist?  Make plans to do the things you both enjoy doing to bring back some fun and passion into your relationship.

2. Make Your Relationship the Priority:
It's important to maintain friendships and family relationships but, over all, making your relationship with your spouse the priority will go a long way to setting the stage for a healthy, happy marriage.  Don't take your spouse for granted.  If friends and relatives are making constant demands of your time and this consistently takes away from your time with your spouse, you would be wise to rethink your priorities.  Don't take the path of least resistance just because your spouse is always "understanding."  Even if you have the most understanding spouse, when you consistently put others first, over time, you're eroding the quality of your relationship with your spouse.

3. Create Special Times with Your Spouse:
Every so often, it helps to create a special time with your spouse.  Whether this means, you stay at home, unplug the phones and your gadgets, and have a romantic champagne brunch together or you have a romantic evening where you play with new sex toys, make an effort to create special times together.  Nothing kills a marriage more than boredom, day after day, week after week, doing the same old things.  Special times together help to rekindle your love for each other.

4. Choose Your Battles:
Nitpicking and nagging is a real turn off in any relationship.  Sometimes,  you have to ask yourself whether it's worth getting into an argument over something that, if you thought about it for a few minutes, is really a petty issue.  Sometimes, it's necessary to have a larger perspective of the relationship and over look the "small stuff."

5. Show Respect For Each Other at all Times, Even When You're Arguing:
Contempt is one of the biggest relationship killers.  If you're the type to say disrespectful and contemptuous things to your spouse when you're arguing, you need to learn a different way of communicating because you're endangering your relationship.  Once the contemptuous words leave your mouth, it's hard to take them back.  Respectful communication between spouses is key to any long-term happy marriage.

Valentine's Day is a perfect time to put these steps into practice.  

Having a Long and Happy Marriage
Getting Help:
If you think that the problems in your relationship go beyond the tips that I've outlined above and you're unable to resolve them on your own, you and your spouse could benefit from marriage counseling with a licensed mental health professional.  Rather than allowing things to continue to slide downhill, if you want to remain in your marriage, take steps to having a more fulfilling relationship with your spouse.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

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