A special expert author guest post by Yehuda Ayalon, MA psychologist, couples therapist and author of the couples’ PlayBook How to Enjoy Your Marriage available now on Amazon Kindle.
A loving marriage relationship is probably the most important source of happiness and success. Investing time, money and effort to make your marriage happy is one of your best investments in your life.
Young couples marrying for the first time face a high chance of divorce. Many other couples stay married but are in chronically distressed marriages. They and their children are at increased risk for mental and physical problems due to the marital distress.
Mismanaged conflict predicts both marital distress and negative effects for children. They also lead to decreased work productivity, especially for men.
The price we pay as a society for marital conflict and divorce is a generation of children at great risk for poverty, alienation, and antisocial behavior.
Marriage has never been a rose garden of living happily ever after except in legends. Nevertheless, most people who get married do expect marriage to contribute to their happiness. According to Martin Seligman, the well-known authority on the psychology of happiness, ”marriage is robustly related to happiness, but unhappy marriages undermine well-being.”
How can we learn to love?
There are various ways to learn how to love and to build a happy marriage. Reading marriage-advice books is a good starting point. However, couple skills require a lot of active practice. One highly recommended way to gain this is through participating in marriage education classes and workshops.
Does Marriage Education Really Work?
There are research results that support the value of marriage education programs. Currently there are some programs that are being scientifically researched. Results show that these programs help couples deepen their friendship and intimacy and build stability in their marriage and created effective, lasting changes in marital satisfaction.
A longitudinal study on a well-known Marriage Education program found that, compared with couples without the training, participating couples maintained high levels of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction and lower problem intensity three years after training; they also demonstrated significantly greater communication skills, less negative communication patterns, and greater conflict management skills up to 12 years after instruction, and reported fewer instances of physical violence with their spouses three to five years after training.
So, before you walk down the aisle, prepare for a good marriage by spending time together getting to know the love of your life. Participate in marriage preparation to learn skills for healthy communication, conflict management, and problem solving. Ask couples who have been happily married for many years what are their secrets for keeping their marriages loving. Don’t be afraid to discuss subjects where you don’t yet agree and try come up with solutions.
Finally, remember that one very important key to a healthy, loving and lasting marriage is commitment to making it work.
Yehuda Ayalon, MA is a psychologist and couples therapist who strongly believes in marriage education as an important stepping stone to building healthy, loving and thriving marriages. His couples’ PlayBook How to Enjoy Your Marriage is published on Amazon Kindle.
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