Some people dream of their wedding their entire lives, but it’s less often the case that people dream about their marriage. Marriage is not always glamorous, nor is it for the faint of heart. Whether you’re thinking about tying the knot or you’ve been married for fifty years, marriage is often anything but smooth sailing.
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Communication is key.
“Being an open communicator is so important,” says Dr. Coles. “That’s the only way to get through this busy life. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. If someone really struggles to let you know what they’re thinking and have inner conversations that don’t come out, that’s probably because they don’t trust you, or trust themselves to communicate their needs without hurting you.”
Disagree, but don’t fight.
“Disagreements and arguments are different things,” says Dr. Coles. She says if you find yourself arguing constantly, it’s time to reassess the situation.
Plan for the future.
“If your partner doesn’t ever talk about the future, whether it’s their own or with you,” then that’s a red flag, according to Dr. Coles.
Be honest. Always.
Dr. Coles says many of her clients come in because of “infidelity, of all sorts,” but that doesn’t necessarily mark the end of a relationship. “People also can tend to lie, and that creates a sense of distrust that is difficult to overcome,” explains Dr. Coles. “I’ll get couples in all places. I get some couples to fantasize about [infidelity] or another couple that tells me they’ve cheated on each other three times.
Dr. Coles says some couples will make their situation even worse by trying to even the score and cheat, too. She strongly advises against this because that erodes a fragile relationship.
Check-in with yourself.
“I think a lot of people think as long as their partners are satisfied with their relationship that they’re safe from infidelity and challenges,” says Dr. Coles. “What I really want them to do is to check-in with themselves. If you’re really unhappy, it can show up as infidelity or addiction, and that ultimately will affect your relationship.”