Enrich Your Marriage

People dream of finding the perfect partner and of living happily ever after. But having a happy marriage is hard work.

There are lots of things you and your partner can do to enrich your marriage. We hope the information you find here will help.

10 myths about marriage
Marital satisfaction
Dimensions of intimacy

Ten myths about marriage
  1. Marriages are made in heaven

    This is the romantic illusion that just because two people are attracted to each other and go through a wedding ceremony, they are spared the toil and effort necessary for success in most other human relationships. 

  2. A wedding is a marriage

    "Getting wedded" should replace "getting married" because a wedding is only the beginning of the task of achieving a marriage. Many couples achieve a wedding, but are unable to maintain a marriage.

  3. Married couples must accept what happens to them "for better or for worse"

    These words imply that some impersonal fate decides the issues for married couples. This is not the case. Their success will depend on the use of the resources they bring to the relationship.

  4. Couples must be compatible for a marriage to succeed

    There is some truth to this. But the idea that the "right" partners fit each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle is not true. Every marriage requires effort and energy. It is a process of mutual adaptation.

  5. Don't expect behaviour changes in your marriage partner

    It is true that putting pressure on your spouse to change will be ineffective. But partners who work together can achieve remarkable changes. We know that even older people can change their behaviour if they are effectively motivated and suitably rewarded.

  6. Happily married couples never disagree

    All couples have disagreements. Happily married couples have developed the necessary skills to resolve their differences amicably. Couples who avoid and suppress disagreements face ongoing unhappiness.

  7. Couples who stay together must be happily married

    The view that "stable" marriages must be successful is not always true. Many couples who don't divorce might have more and better reasons for doing so than others who do.

  8. Don't unload your personal problems on your spouse - keep them to yourself

    If marriage partners can't seek sympathy and support from each other in the ups and downs of life, who can they turn to? A loving, caring relationship involves everything that concerns the people involved in that relationship.

  9. Married couples should never discuss their marital difficulties with other couples

    We call this "inter-marital taboo". This attitude deprives couples of all kinds of mutual support and help.

  10. You don't need marriage counselling until you are really in serious trouble

    By that time it may be too late. Leaving it too late to seek help often means alienation has undermined the couple's motivation to work at the relationship. The counsellor can do most for those who seek help early.

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Marital Satisfaction

We often hear of marital satisfaction or lack of it. But what is marital satisfaction? It is the subjective evaluation of the quality of the couple's relationship generally across a number of factors.

Each person brings into a marriage a set of expectations, certain personality dynamics, a distinct family background and a particular level of physical and emotional health. It is the way these sets of factors combine and inter-relate that determines the marital satisfaction of the couple." Callan/Noller

Marital satisfaction is the most important determinant of whether a marriage will remain intact.

Factors Influencing Marital Satisfaction

  • Premarital Factors

    Studies of married couples have revealed that partners who entered marriage with certain similarities tended to report a high degree of marital satisfaction.

    These areas of similarity include:
    1. Racial background
    2. Socio-economic background
    3. Religious beliefs
    4. Intelligence
    5. Age

Studies have also found that couples reported being more satisfied in their marriage when similar in the following personal resources:

  1. Emotional stability
  2. Education
  3. Social class
  4. Positive self-concept
  5. Physical health
  • Socio-economic Factors

    The social and economic factors influencing marital satisfaction include:
    1. Economic well-being
    2. Wive's employment status
    3. The size of the household
    4. The couple's sense of involvement and acceptance in the community
  • Interpersonal Factors

    The interpersonal factors are those that highlight the way we understand and relate to our partner. The important ones include:
    1. A sense of positive regard for one another

      This refers to positive feelings toward the partner. Is my partner physically and sexually attractive to me? Do we share common values? Do we support and nurture one another?

    2. Emotional benefits from the marriage

      Important emotional benefits that help marriages are expressions of affection and esteem, love, sexual satisfaction, the encouragement of personal growth, and a sense of autonomy and equality.

    3. Communication

      Studies continue to show that communication is one of the most significant factors relating to overall marital satisfaction.

    4. Interaction

      Interaction involves spending time together and sharing activities and interests.

    5. Agreement about roles

      This defines the role each will take in such things as: household tasks; earning an income; disciplining children, etc.

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Dimensions of Intimacy
A marital relationship provides several dimensions for developing intimacy.

Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is the experience of sharing and self-abandon in a loving, committed relationship. The marital relationship provides the optimum setting in which to develop the blend of sensual and emotional components that lead to a satisfying sex life.

Emotional Intimacy

This is the depth of awareness and sharing of significant meanings and feelings. It's when couples take the risk of being emotionally vulnerable to their partner. Emotional intimacy is the foundation of all other forms of intimacy.

Intellectual Intimacy

Developing a sense of closeness through sharing of ideas leads to intellectual intimacy. It may be through reading together, studying a joint concern, or discussing a lecture together. It calls for mutual respect for each other's intelligence and thoughts.

Aesthetic Intimacy

This is the depth sharing experiences of beauty. It may be a shared moment of reflection of a sunset, a special piece of music, photography, or art.

Commitment Intimacy

This intimacy is the core feeling of ongoing mutuality which develops in a marriage in which there is a shared dedication to some value or cause that is bigger than the marriage. It is something that both partners regard as worth of self-investment.

Spiritual Intimacy

This is the nearness that develops through sharing in the area of ultimate concerns: the meaning of life and our relationship to the universe and to God.

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