Treat spouse as you would a friend

As an experienced marriage therapist as well as anger management trainer, I am often amazed at how badly people in relationship treat each other in comparison to how they treat their co-workers or same-sex friends. Things sometimes get to the point of contempt, which is a major predictor of divorce, according to recent research the the Gottman Institute in Seattle.

It seems obvious that to create and maintain a healthy loving relationship you need to treat your partner in ways that makes your partner feel loved and valued. Some marital therapists call this “real giving.” You can’t just spout-off, “be-yourself”, “say whatever  is on my mind all the time,” or disrespect your spouse one moment and then be loving the next – and expect your relationship to survive.

Part of relationship success involves treating each other with basic respect and civility; in effect, just try being nicer and see what results you might get. Sounds deceptively simple, yet somehow many people find it much easier to do with friends than spouses.

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