Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Qualities of a Satisfying Marriage
Qualities of a Satisfying Marriage was written by future Industrial Organizational Psychologist, Brandon Araujo, for the D’Arienzo Psychological Group in September 2014. D’Arienzo Psychological Group is a Jacksonville, Florida based Clinical, Forensic, and Industrial Psychology Practice. Our specialty is couples counseling and marital therapy, and we have multiple types of mental health therapists and counselors to assist you on your journey to relationship recovery or marital enhancement.
Do you have the qualities of a satisfying marriage? The majority of couples that get married have the intention of creating a happy and successful marriage that will last a lifetime; but if all couples have this intention then why do approximately 43% of marriages end in divorce? Is a successful marriage just based on luck or are there certain characteristics that spouses create in order to build a happier and more satisfying marriage? Research suggests that the latter is true.
One iconic saying that gets passed from man to man is “happy wife happy life;” however, a recent study has suggested that this is more than just a humorous saying. Researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Michigan found a positive correlation between a wife’s level of satisfaction with her marriage and her husbands level happiness. This means that as a wife becomes more satisfied with her marriage her husband becomes happier. Although this may be true it is not the defining factor of a successful relationship. There are many other qualities that cause a marriage to be satisfying for both spouses.
One of these many qualities is being able to focus on your spouse’s positive characteristics and redirect their negatives. Another old phrase that holds true and explains this aspect of marriage is “love is blind.” This phrase explains that as individuals fall in love they typically do not notice their partner’s flaws because they are so focused on the qualities of their partner that they love. However, as time progresses, especially after marriage, people start to notice the negatives about their spouse. When these negative attributes come to one’s attention it is common for them to overshadow the positive attributes, this leads to frequent arguments. In order to avoid this you should attempt to convey to your partner how much you value and appreciate the positive things they do; positive psychology suggests that a behavior becomes more prevalent when it is rewarded with a positive motivator such as appraisal. Also, you should try to redirect your partner’s negative behaviors so that they lead to a positive behavior that you can reward. For example, say a wife just made a huge mess in the kitchen and left it for her husband to clean up after a 13-hour workday. Typically this situation would lead to a fight but instead the husband says “I’m really exhausted right now and would really appreciate it if you could clean up, if I don’t have to do it I’ll probably have enough energy to go out dancing tonight.” This type of redirection has not only avoided an argument but has led to the happiness of both partners since the husband did not have to clean and the wife gets to go dancing.
Other qualities of a satisfying marriage include communication, genuineness, trust, support, and respect. Effective communication does not simply involve having conversations about marital responsibilities but also about individual emotions; to successfully communicate with your partner you must be willing to discuss delicate issues about the relationship and yourself, you must also genuinely listen to what your partner has to say. By genuinely listening to your partner you will be able to provide meaningful advice and support for any issues your partner may be experiencing. This will ultimately lead to a higher level of trust and respect in your relationship. This type of domino effect of positive qualities can also occur negatively, which is why it is so common for a relationship to decline with the loss of just one important characteristic. A marriage that focuses on maintaining these and many other qualities will tend to be much more satisfying for both partners.
D’Arienzo Psychological Group. Credentialed, Respected, and Experienced. We welcome the opportunity to help you and your partner restore your relationship. Specializing in Couples Counseling and Marital Therapy. Call us today at 904-379-8094 or find us on the web at www.drdarienzo.com.