by David Linn, ACSW, LMFT, BCD
With a 45% divorce rate in the United States the key to a fulfilling and long lasting marriage appears elusive. While true marital success is neither effortless nor easily achieved, a simple but fundamental concept can greatly increase our marital satisfaction:
Be nice to each other.
Frequently we treat our mate like little more than a gratifying object that is, in fact, doing a poor job of it. If you think about it, most of the time we engage our co-workers with more respect and consideration than we do our spouses. We usually approach our children with more concern and thoughtfulness. When thinking of our other-half, that persistent little voice in us says, "You should be there for me whenever I need you and, truth be known, before I even anticipate needing you". And "My being here should be surely good enough for you".
OK, OK, these thoughts are exaggerations and oversimplifications, but the truth is we do not generally value niceness as a basic marital requirement. This is a mistake. Niceness acts as a cushion blunting the sharpness of disagreement and conflict. Niceness is also the daily salve that heals marital wounds.
Niceness is not easy, we have to again ignore that little voice that says, "I am too angry to be civil", and "I shouldn't have to be pleasant, this wasn't my fault". But you know it is certainly worth it.
Remember the words of a leading 20th Century philosopher, Sir Paul McCartney, "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make".
Articles by David E. Linn, LMSW, ACSW, LMFT