Remember the day you stood looking into the eyes of your beloved, all decked out in your wedding day attire? You thought this was going to be your dream fairy-tale, your happily–ever-after, the type of dream love you always fantasized about.
For some of you, that may be the case; for many of you, things haven’t quite gone that way.
As a Relationship and Marriage Coach, I see struggling married couples, and one of the biggest issues, and one I have worked with, is infidelity. Not every marriage will experience infidelity, but according to research reviewed by Buss and Shackelford, 30-60% of married people in the US will engage in infidelity.
Those are scary statistics.
Why in the world would someone commit to marriage and say “I do” only to look outside of the marriage? Wasn’t the vow of “I do” the big commitment?
For some, it is; for others, that commitment doesn’t always hold. Challenges happen, issues come up, different points of view arise, communication goes awry, and intimacy gets crushed. Careers, kids, anger, resentment, entitlement happens, opportunity presents itself too much, and couples often stop authentic, honest, vulnerable sharing.
These are only a few symptoms that lead people to break their commitment of “I do” without being honest enough to share what their real issue is.
Just like people turn to food, alcohol, drugs to numb out from their pain to not face a challenge, or try and get support for it, it is more common for people to turn away from their spouse and go outside of the marriage commitment to find a false sense of comfort.
What 3 strategies are necessary for that “I do” vow to mean what it meant on that beautiful wedding day and help make your marriage last?
Operate From a Place of Integrity
Integrity is about keeping your word, doing what you say you will do, and being honest. Being honest with your partner before you break your vows may end a marriage, but may end it more amicably. It can even prevent infidelity, allowing the couple to get support, and look at what hasn’t been working.
Choose Each Other Every Day
Marriage is a choice. It’s chosen on the wedding day and it is critical to choose it every day. Again, challenges happen, old wounds from youth open up, disagreements happen, learning and growth happen and it is not always easy. What helps is to recommit every day when you wake up in the morning and declare to choose the commitment to your spouse that day.
Share Authentically and Vulnerably
I tell my clients and people who are part of my Art of Successful Marriage community, communication is the foundation inside of this commitment of growing a successful and extraordinary marriage of integrity. So many are not skilled up in effective communication skills, or get too fearful to open up, be raw, vulnerable, and authentic, even with the person they said “I do” to, the person who is to be their closest confidant, the best friend they have ever had, the one they feel safest with.
There are many factors that prevent people from this deep sharing. If a couple cannot be authentic, raw, and honest with each other, too much gets swept under the rug, and people begin to think something outside of the marriage will make them feel better rather than learning to trust their spouse with their heart, their thoughts, their feelings. Sharing authentically and vulnerably builds trust, bonds a couple in a deeper way, and ignites more intimacy.
These are just 3 strategies you can implement to ensure your commitment to your marriage is fresh and intact. There are more strategies available, but start with these. They may seem simple but they take practice and repetition.
Be diligent about this practice. After all, you’ve invested so much into this person, into yourself, and into this marriage.
A high level of integrity is critical.
You made this commitment.
You are worthy of an extraordinary marriage.
So, learn how to create one.
Choose yourself, choose each other, and choose the marriage.