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There are a number of aspects to a healthy marriage. For this post, I am going to just focus on one of them. It could be argued that this is the most important.

  1. Focus on yourself.

A first glance this may seem selfish. It could come across as self-serving or being concerned only with ones own feelings. That is not the angle I am navigating. When we focus on ourselves in an appropriate way, we notice our own behavior rather than point at the behavior of our spouse we avoid unnecessary conflict. A primary way that resentment builds in a marriage is for one spouse to feel responsible for the other. This could be in tangible ways or emotionally. If one person in the relationship feels the need to make sure the other is feeling a certain way, it hinders growth.

Be responsible for yourself while maintaining responsibilities to your spouse. Treat them appropriately, focusing your energy on how you act rather than trying to control how they act. It seems, when we do this, our positive behavior influences the other and it creates a context of growth rather than resentment and stagnation or deterioration. Of course, it should be noted, if one person in the relationship puts the other in physical danger there are appropriate boundaries that must be drawn.

So, focus on your own behavior. Instead of blaming, do your part.

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

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