How to Create a Remarkable Marriage

Harriet Lerner, author of "Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up", gives us a crash course in marriage wellness.

by Harriet Lerner, PhD

When people come to see me for marital therapy they are secretly hoping that I will fix or change their partner.  But change will not happen until at least one person takes his or her blaming or worried focused off their spouse and puts it back on himself or herself. Self-focus means we put our energy into observing, clarifying, and changing our own part in relationship patterns rather than trying to change, control, interpret, diagnose, or criticize the other party.                 

7. Know Your Bottom Line

Take a clear position on things that matter. Define the limits of what is acceptable and tolerable to you in your marriage. Don’t sacrifice your core values and beliefs under relationship pressures.  If you have an “anything goes” policy, your marriage—and sense of self-worth—will spiral downward. Real change in marriage is usually a slow and bumpy process that takes patience and time. Don’t try to change too much too fast, or nothing will change at all. Remember that it’s the direction you move in over time—not the speed of travel. May you—and your marriage—truly flourish.

First Published January 3, 2012

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