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Tips for strengthening a marriage

December 31, 2010

Tips for strengthening a marriage

    *  Seek perspective from a professional outside the marriage. Talk to a pastor or to a couple whose marriage seems to be working well. Or several couples can form a group to learn and help each other grow.
    *  Pick up a good book. "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" by Mark Gungor is a good first book, according to Bonnie Elgin.
    *  Show tenderness. Look for ways to make physical contact; an occasional touch, a hug or a kiss. When leaving, don't just walk out the door. Give your spouse a hug and tell them where you're going.
    *  Laugh at yourself.
    *  Be someone who's fun to be with.
    *  If you're upset about something, don't talk about it when you're really emotional. Acknowledge your feelings and tell your spouse you'll talk later. Follow through.  
    *  When arguing, use "I" statements. "I felt this way when you did that" (not "You made me feel such-and-such a way).
    *  If you are angry at something your spouse did or said, ask for help. Say, "Help me understand why you did that or said that."
    *  Be a good example. One reason to have a good relationship is to teach children what a good relationship is.
    *  Accept that men tend to avoid talking about emotional conflict. Women are typically more comfortable discussing emotions. Seek compromise.
    *  Show love and respect to your mate. Approach conflict in a healthy way, not judging or condemning.


— Courtesy of Bonnie Elgin, 20-year member of a married couples group in Hagerstown

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