Make a Resolution Early… Work on Your Marriage

Posted by on Jun 2, 2018 in Ask The Therapist | 1 comment

Now is the time to honor your relationship by investing your time and energy into enhancing it. Research shows that if couples do not continue to put energy into a relationship, it deteriorates. In truth, you have to put energy into a relationship to just keep it where it is. For it to improve, you have to put more energy into it.


What Predicts Divorce or Continued Relationship Misery?

1. Positive to Negative Ratios: The couples who are happy in their relationships have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative during conflict discussions; and a 20:1 positive to negative ratio when just hanging out. Conclusion: Relationships have to be a very rich climate of positivity to feel good: lots of kindness, attention, interest in one another, affection, humor, good sex, and so on.

2. Criticism: Complaining as if there is something defective in your partner’s personality. Conclusion: Be gentle in your approach.

3. Defensiveness: Self-protective responses, victimhood. Conclusion: accept responsibility, even for a small part of the problem.\

4. Contempt: Speaking from a superior plane, a holier-than-thou position. Conclusion: appreciate, catch your partner doing something right.

5. Stonewalling: Emotionally disengaging, withdrawing, isolating, not listening when overwhelmed. Conclusion: self soothe, so you can be present, listen, actively hear, take breaks to not get overwhelmed, and check out.


If your marriage is in the negative ratio or negative perspective, it’s because something is wrong with the friendship in the marriage. One or both of you don’t feel your partner is really interested in the relationship; there’s not much affection going on. There are feelings of rejection, there’s not much romance or good sex in the relationship.

Counseling can be a tool to learn to turn toward one another, cherish one’s partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude for what one has with this person, instead of comparing one’s partner to an “imagined” other.


Written by Anjelica Nelson, M.Ed., LPC, MFT

One Response to “Make a Resolution Early… Work on Your Marriage”

  1. Jim DeChant says:

    this would have been good 12 yrs. ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *