Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist who practices in the Metropolitan Baltimore Washington D.C. area. In the following article, Stephanie Weiland Knarr discusses the art of creating a successful, lasting marriage.
The saying “marriage takes work” exists for a reason — it’s true. Like anything, couples need to work on their marriage to reap the heartwarming rewards. From newlyweds to those who’ve been married for years, every relationship requires two people who work on their bond and life together.
But, as any marriage counselors like Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr say, it isn’t like taking out the trash or cleaning the car. The work, or more appropriately, the art of marriage is different.
The Secret Keys to a Happy, Successful Marriage
While a successful marriage looks different for every couple, these ten (not so secret) secrets help navigate relationships and provide happy, functional, and fulfilling partnerships according to Stephanie Weiland Knarr:
Individuals must be happy by themselves before they can be happy in a relationship. That’s potentially the most crucial key of all.
Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr explains that couples must continue taking “me time,” enjoy their pastimes, and spend time apart to form a lasting bond. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But, more importantly, taking personal time helps re-establish the sense of self and check in with their personal preferences, ambitions, and achievements.
Many psychologists have written papers — and even books — on love languages. So much so that, in the modern dating world, finding out potential partners’ languages of love plays a role in determining whether they’ll go the distance.
And the same can be said for married couples states Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr. Understanding people’s hobbies and preferences allows partners to communicate their love in unique ways.
Spouses who figure out their partners’ way of showing love unlock the door to successful marriages.
A lack of acceptance is a giant relationship killer. Individuals must remember that they married their partner for who they were then and now. Changing who they are simply isn’t an option.
Those who realize this sooner reap the successful relationship rewards.
Acceptance lies in perspective shifts. Those who turn weakness-centric conversations into positive-centric discussions are more likely to ace their marriage.
Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr states that forgiveness is complex, especially for those who innately hold grudges. But it takes time and patience. Not many find saying, “I forgive you” or even “I’m sorry” easy.
However, individuals who forgive their partners move forward together without frustration or anger, healing quickly from the past.
Learning to forgive is a powerful marriage tool. And anything worth doing isn’t effortless. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available for couples wishing to improve their forgiveness abilities.
A little romance goes a long way to strengthening marriages according to Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr. Whether it’s a love note, “just-because” flowers, watching the sunset, or creating a candle-lit dinner, couples who bring back the romance of their early relationship stages every once in a have marriages that last a lifetime.
Typically, people find it easy to offer grace to colleagues and children when they make mistakes. And yet, they’re quick to hold grudges or anger with their partners instead of showing them that same kindness.
Stephanie Weiland Knarr states that spouses tend to take the brunt of their significant others’ frustrations and setbacks. However, people who learn to be gracious and not provoke, set their marriages up for success.
Children tend to behave the worst at home. Why? Because that’s where they feel the safest and most comfortable — the same goes for successful partnerships.
People often show their worst to their spouses because they feel safe and comfortable. But, this tends to come off as a severe lack of patience, or ungratefulness.
Those who grant their partners the same level of patience as a child are more likely to succeed in their marriages.
Respect should be granted both publicly and in privately. Spouses who sing their partner’s praises to others, even when they aren’t there, tend to foster healthy marriages.
Moreover, simply actively listening can be more than enough to some to show respect states Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr.
People should be most authentically themselves when around their spouses, allowing for the communication of expressions, feelings, and desires. Those who develop openness early on in their relationship are poised for the greatest marriages.
Finally, teamwork — i.e., the art of cooperation and compromise — is the glue that holds a marriage together. And couples who work hard to maintain teamwork, even during times of dire stress, are more likely to reap successful marriage rewards.