While all too many marriages end in divorce, many couples achieve long and happy unions.
Based on what he has learned during 35 years in the field, Loyola University Health System psychologist Michael Hakimi, PsyD, offers these 10 tips for achieving a successful marriage:
1. Love your spouse unconditionally. Be generous in expressing your love, even when there is an issue. Always remember what attracted you to each other in the first place, and keep these feelings alive. In words and actions, make your spouse feel very special. Commit yourself 100 percent.
2. Communicate with kind words and compassion. Avoid harsh criticism and blaming. Never neglect to say “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.” Express gratitude and appreciation for any act of kindness, service or good will. Establish a relationship that is based on honesty and mutual respect.
3. Place the interests and welfare of your spouse above those of your own.
4. Be faithful to your spouse, and make love as often as you both are in the mood.
5. Provide for the needs of your spouse to the best of your ability.
6. Listen carefully and try to understand what your spouse is saying.
7. Take your spouse’s opinion into consideration before making any important decision.
8. Work to overcome the undesirable traits in your own personality and behavior.
9. Continually seek ways to become a better husband, wife or parent.
10. Follow the Golden Rule: Treat your spouse the way you want to be treated.