What does it look like to be an adult in a marriage? Over the last two weeks I’ve discussed both the parent and child positions in marriage. Many of my patients can relate to being in a parent-child marriage, so today I will discuss the healthy adult partnership. Being an adult requires compromise, sacrifice, acceptance, forgiveness, and honesty. Lets face it we all make mistakes and choose to be child-like or parent-like at times in our marriage, but we can achieve love and connection through healthy choices. The specific behaviors tied to an adult-adult marriage are assertiveness, validation, apologizing, active listening, responsibility, and the ability to resolve conflict. Healthy couples are respectful, complimentary, supportive, secure, and flexible. Healthy marriages focus more on the present rather than the past or the future and are able to let issues go. Adult partners accept when their partners assert “no,” allow each other individuality, and lead balanced lives. In other words, healthy couples are not consumed in each other’s world nor are they totally separate, but have a good amount of both connectedness and independence; they are interdependent. As I’ve said before, marriage takes work and is probably the most challenging relationship since you’re around your spouse 24/7. Marriage also can be the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship you’ll ever experience in life. Most things in life that are valuable require time, effort, and energy, and marriage is no different. Decide to be an adult, improve your marriage, and focus on changing yourself, not others. The benefits of a healthy marriage are priceless.
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