If you want to be more than just an “ok” couple, then you will need to develop certain qualities or characteristics that will make you a great couple. Many couples have the potential to be great couples but truly miss the mark. They go through life just existing and trying to manage all the things they have to do related to work, family, community, etc. They forget to nurture their marriage relationship so as to grow together and instead grow apart. Here are some of the qualities or characteristics of couples who really work at growing their relationships and become truly great couples.
1. Great couples care deeply for each other. Their actions toward each other prove that they care deeply. It is more than words.
The words they speak to each other are continually played out in their actions toward one another.
They are always there for each other and have each other’s backs. They do not allow others to speak badly about or act badly toward either of them. They are respectful toward each other even when they disagree.
2. Great couples not only care deeply for one another they express that care often both privately and publicly. Neither partner is one way in public and totally different when alone with their spouse. They speak well of one another when in public and in private. They also express kindness toward one another when no one else is watching. They don’t always have to agree, but they learn how to manage their anger and frustrations in such a way as to not obliterate one another when they are upset.
3. Great couples learn to protect one another.
They are looking out for one another on a regular basis.
They check in on each other just to see how they are doing and if they need anything or just to say “I love you and I know you can get through your difficult day!” They never put one another intentionally in harm’s way. They work together on projects and again check in to make sure that the other is ok with whatever they are doing. They ask questions such as “Do you need anything from me?” or “Do you need my help?” This is not begrudgingly done but is done because they want to protect and do whatever they can to lighten the load for one another.
4. Great couples have learned to listen to each other. They are willing to stop what they are doing and really pay attention to what the other is saying. Listening is not as easy as most people believe it to be. You probably think that you can do many things and still hear what someone is trying to say, but sadly, you miss a lot of what is being said because you are too busy with your own stuff to stop and really attend to the other. Great couples have learned that real communication is about stopping and listening to one another. They listen for the words used, the feelings behind the words, and ask if there is something they can do to help their spouse.
5. Great couples have figured out conflict resolution that works for the two of them.
Even great couples have times when they do not agree.
They have times of conflict but have figured out how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Frequently, couples choose to either to clam up or blow up at each other when conflict arises. One person may clam up and pull away while the other goes ballistic, yelling and screaming and saying all types of unkind things. Sometimes both people choose to continue to raise their voices and scream and yell at each other. Nothing gets accomplished with this type of arguing or with the clamming up type of disagreement. When couples choose to clam up or one of them chooses to clam up, they might go for days or weeks without really communicating with each other. They may discuss, briefly, what is going on with the kids or what the schedule of events is but never really talk about what the disagreement is about. After awhile, they begin talking to each other and pretend the issue doesn’t exist. The problem with this thinking is that the problem is not resolved and has gone underground to be fueled and brought up during the next disagreement. Great couples don’t let this happen. They work at resolving conflict as it comes up. They learn what works best for them. It may be that they have to take breaks or time outs during their discussions. They agree to come back to the discussion in a reasonable amount of time and try again.
They learn how to give toward each other and not become stubborn and dig in and expect to always get their way.
They learn to make some decisions together and try them out. They agree to come back to the drawing table and start again if something doesn’t work. They also learn to each take responsibility for their part in the conflict and don’t play the “blame game.”
6. Great couples praise and thank one another all the time. They use their manners with one another. Manners are not just for use with people outside the home. Manners are for all of us to use all of the time with everyone!!!!! Saying please to your spouse is a big deal and saying thank you is also a big deal. Couples expect their children to use good manners and to be polite to each other and to their parents, as well as when they are away from home. Children are taught by example. Couples who want their children to be mannerly must show how to be mannerly by being mannerly toward each other. People often become complacent and rattle off commands or demands without asking in a polite way. They also forget to say thank you for things that seem to be routine or mundane, but a thank you for fixing dinner or making the breakfast shakes or doing the grocery shopping or the laundry, going to work, taking care of the children, etc can really help each person to feel appreciated for the things they do.
It is also important to praise one another when you see that your spouse has done something really well or tried something that was really hard for them, or made a meal that really “rang the bell,” etc.
Unsolicited praise that is sincere really can boost one’s morale and can help one to keep persevering at something that is difficult. Great couples have learned the significance of using praise appropriately and also manners. They make a choice to work hard at showing appreciation and praise as often as they can.
7. Great couples make it their business to find out what is important to one another and then make it a practice to do those things often. Many times the things that are important to another person are not a priority to you or even on your radar at all. When you marry, it becomes part of your life together to get to know your spouse even better than you believe you already do. When your spouse expresses an interest in something or a need for something in the marriage relationship, it becomes important to pay attention and do whatever is necessary to help your spouse in those areas. You don’t have to be a superhuman and do everything perfectly all the time. That is not the objective.
The objective is to pay attention and to make some things happen for your spouse even if you are not the least bit interested in them.
One somewhat simple example is bringing your wife flowers, just because. Often she is thinking she would love to have flowers but maybe you don’t have a clue. If she talks about it, then you know that it is important to her. It could be that your spouse is really into some sport and you could take it or leave it. However, it becomes important for you to show some interest in it either by participating or by at least giving some support and encouragement to them. These are only two examples, but obviously, there are many other things that can be a part of this.
8. Great couples have learned how to be honest with each other about their thoughts and feelings.
Great couples are able to express their thoughts and feelings to each other without fearing the other person’s reactions to them.
They don’t fear not being listened to or heard, being put down, their spouse becoming defensive, etc. It is hard to learn how to listen and not become reactive to what someone else is thinking or feeling. Often, people feel the need to defend themselves and come up with all the reasons why the other person is wrong to think or feel what they are thinking or feeling. Sometimes in that defensive mode, a person also becomes demeaning toward the other. When these kinds of things happen, people tend to not share much about what they are thinking or feeling. They may begin to hide things and hide the truth about a situation. They may convince themselves that it is ok to “lie” about something or leave out some of the details so as to avoid someone else’s reaction to the truth. Great couples work hard at learning how to communicate truthfully with one another in a loving caring way. They learn to speak the truth in love not to hurt the other person but to build each other up.
If you would like to become a great couple but are having some difficulty developing the qualities of a great couple, we can certainly work with you to help you figure that out. We have experience and expertise in the area of being a great couple. We don’t have all the answers and don’t always hit the mark ourselves, but we are definitely learning how to be a great couple and how to maintain that in our marriage. We are very open to sharing that with other couples to help them have more successful marriages and to become really great couples.
If you’re ready, take the next step now and call 630-333-3202 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. We will tell you about how our process works and you will come away from that call with the information you need to make a decision about how we can best work together.