Relationships, Your Marriage

The Surprising Secret to a Happy Marriage

0 Comments 07 June 2012

The surprising secret to a happy marriage from the book 6 Husbands Every Wife Should HaveWhat is the “secret sauce” that makes a happy marriage work? Many people resist it. The important thing to remember is that what couples need from each other evolves throughout life. From The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have: How Couples Who Change Together Stay Together.

When they marry, most people say things like, “I love you just the way you are; don’t ever change!”—and they really mean it. The notion that their spouse might change is scary and nonsensical to most newlyweds. Furthermore, popular opinion supports this idea, dictating that marriages fail because people change. But of course people change! All healthy people grow and change as they mature. It’s those who don’t change who find themselves trapped in unhealthy marriages. The truth is, most marriages don’t fail because people change, they fail because people don’t change.

Couples need to change and grow in order to invigorate and rejuvenate their relationship. Despite all we’ve been told about the power of love to surmount all odds, successful marriages don’t happen because two people fall in love; they happen when two people fall in love over and over again with each other. That can only happen when two people change together in whatever ways their lives and their marriage require.

If you accept this basic premise, a lot of the seemingly contradictory pressures of modern marriage make a lot more sense. As a marriage counselor and psychologist with more than fifteen years of experience, I often see men and women who feel like they just can’t win. It’s as if they’re living a life filled with relentless pressure: pressure to stay home with the kids and, at the same time, pressure to go to work and make more money; pressure to drop some of their old friends and old habits and develop new friends and new habits. They also feel pressure to be tough and in charge, but also to be sensitive and vulnerable. They think that if they could just eliminate these pressures, their life and their marriage would be okay again.
Women often say things like, “He knew what I was like when he married me, and now he wants me to be different. He knew that I had a lot of hobbies and interests and that I didn’t like spending weekends at home being a couch potato.”

“It sounds like he wants a different wife,” I usually comment.

“Absolutely!” is the common response.

Men often say things like, “She knew what I was like when she married me, and now she wants me to be different. She knew that I liked to drink and hang out with my buddies and that I wasn’t particularly interested in talking about my feelings and stuff like that.”

To this, I usually respond, “It sounds like she wants a different husband.”

“Absolutely!” is the common response.

“So what am I supposed to do?” they both want to know.

My advice is usually the same. “It sounds like it’s time for a change,” I say. “It’s time for you to become the new spouse he (or she) is looking for!”—the one you both deserve.

The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have: How Couples Who Change Together Stay Together

The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have: How Couples Who Change Together Stay Together

Dr. Steven Craig

Dr. Steven Craig is a therapist, corporate coach, and host of “Therapy Thursdays” on Detroit’s 96.3 WDVD radio. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson as well as in the New York Times, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and numerous other local, national, and international publications. He lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

 

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