15 Habits of Husbands & Wives In Great Marriages
Here’s What Great Marriages Have That Bad Marriages Don’t
I enjoyed reading the classic Dante’s Inferno many years ago. It’s had a lasting impact on how I approach life. Let’s review. Dante’s Inferno shows the nine levels of hell to which sinners can be condemned to eternity. The levels matched the sins they committed while on earth. The nine levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno are (1) limbo, (2) lust, (3) gluttony, (4) greed, (5) anger, (6) heresy, (7) violence, (8) fraud, and (9) treachery.
In my opinion, there is a tenth level of hell that Dante mistakenly left off.
I believe the 10th level of hell that Dante left off is Bad Marriages/Relationships. Imagine living for eternity – or just the rest of your life on earth – in a bad relationship! This 10th level is a hell on earth that might be worse than any of the other levels.
That brings me to the habits it takes to have a great marriage. After years of successfully coaching hundreds of couples all over the world and studying what works and what fails, I know that marriages do NOT become good or great on their own. Left to their own devices, marriages will get worse and move to the point of irreversible decline. Great marriages are the result of certain habits being in place. These habits are available to (doable by) every couple. Here are the 15 key habits that lead to a great marriage:
15 Habits of Husbands & Wives In Great Marriages
1. Have a “You Win = I Win” Approach to Your Significant other
Do everything, say everything, and approach everything – with the mindset that “I don’t win unless my spouse wins and s/he does not win unless I win.” When you have this approach to everything you two face, you eliminate the self-inflicted harm that destroy most relationships.
2. Develop a Relationship Agenda (with your significant other)
A Relationship Agenda is a list of the couple’s specific goals, activities, the role each person plays in achieving the relationship goals, and the plan that the couple will follow to reach the goals. Once each person knows their role and believes that both members of the team are fully committed, it becomes far easier to have a happy, productive, relationship in pursuit of the relationship goals. Those couples with a written Relationship Agenda are significantly more likely to stay together longterm.
3. Understand Your Spouse’s Goals and Develop a Plan to Support Pursuit of Those Goals
Few things will keep you closer to your spouse than making it your goal to fully understand his/her life goals, and then working with her/him on developing a plan that leads to accomplishment of those goals.
4. Review Your Results (on a weekly basis)
The Book of Life let’s us know that a tree is to be judged by its fruit. That’s why you should evaluate each week that passes with a rigorous look at what has been accomplished in your relationship, what went well, areas where there could be improvement, and what you can do to facilitate growth in the relationship over the next week.
5. Be a Very Active Listener to Your Significant Other
Concentrate on being fully present in all conversations with your significant other. Another technique I suggest, confirm the key points you think you’ve heard from every conversation with your significant other. Trust me on this.
6. Master Time Management
You can’t have a truly great marriage unless you can get control of your use of time. Said another way, don’t get so lost in the sauce of everyday life that you fail to put the time into your relationship that it needs.
7. Relationship is Math
Quality of Your Relationship = Quality plus Frequency of Your Positive Communication with Each Other
8. Win Each Day
The very best athletes are much better at focusing on every play of every game than less accomplished athletes. This is much as it is with those who are masters at the marriage game. Those who are in great marriages focus on every single day they have together and they want to make each day together the best it can be. They want the relationship to win each day.
9. Don’t Be Selfish
Individuals lose. Teams win.
10. Don’t Be Better at Golf than You Are at the Relationship
You become good at what you consistently do well. Consistently do your relationship, well. Day after day after day.
11. Know When To Let It Go
Don’t be easy to take offense. Don’t be quick to argue. Know what’s worth fighting about and let the rest go.
12. Be Future Focused
The best way to live your best life and have a fantastic relationship, is to stay focused on your future as a couple. When both of you are focused on the future, you will both make better decisions. Both of you will then evaluate options based on how well they move you towards your key relationship, personal, and professional goals. Being future focused allows you to embrace positive habits, and the elimination of bad habits. Being future focused will enable you to approach your relationship with a gentler, more nurturing touch.
13. Be Solution Focused
One of the worst “bad habits” for couples to have is to always be focused on real or imagined problems. You will never have a fundamentally happy marriage/relationship until and unless you both develop the habit of immediately focusing – when faced with challenges or issues – on solutions to the challenges or issues. The difference between the two habits-of-thought (solution-focused vs. problem-focused) may appear small. However, the impact on the relationship of the two approaches is dramatically different.
Reality: You attract into the relationship what you dwell on. Those couples who are focused on solutions for their challenges, tend to find solutions. They also are much happier as a couple than those couples for whom every issue that pops up causes a spiral down into problem-hell.
14. Be Positive
Happiness. Unhappiness. Positivity. Negativity. These are choices. In the best marriages there is a conscious decision by both people to choose happiness and positivity. The less-than-great marriages seem content to embrace the constant pall of unhappiness, negativity, argument, stress… Choose wisely.
15. Let Your Spouse Know You Believe In Her/Him
Very simple. Research I conducted among those in great marriages showed that the strongest feeling is: “My spouse believes in me.” Let your mate know that you 100% believe in him/her and that you exist to support her/him every step of the way.
Darryl L. Mobley
Live Your Best Life!
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