CHICAGO, May 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Wedding season has arrived. It is the peak time of year for couples to exhaust themselves, and often their bank accounts, by investing in the "perfect" wedding day. The same level of investment in time or resources is rarely applied to growing the marriage after making it official, observes Karen Skerrett, Ph.D., a psychologist who authored Growing Married: Creating Stories for a Lifetime of Love. "Unfortunately couples spend lots to marry, plan lots to retire and check out during the long in-between," she says.
In this book, Skerrett pulls together cutting-edge thinking, research, and practical strategies to offer couples the keys to marriages that flourish at every stage of their lifecycle using We Stories.
Skerrett has five pieces of advice for newlyweds that can increase their chances of enjoying happy, enduring marriages.
- Create a We Attitude: It’s OK for newly married partners to maintain their individual interests, but focusing too much on individuality when combined with hectic work schedules, social obligations and everyday tasks can lead to parallel lives and lost connection. Couples who maintain a "we" attitude take joint responsibility for the issues they face and share a mutual identity that promotes trust.
- Build a Culture of Gratitude: Many of us are tempted to share stories of blame, criticism and negativity. It’s better practice to focus on the positive contributions your partner is making, express appreciation on a regular basis, and offer emotional support to yourself and one another. These habits will go a long way when times are the toughest.
- Think Long-term: Even at the get-go, consider your marriage a lifelong project you will be co-creating together. Keep in mind that what might look like an insurmountable obstacle, incompatibility or even a character flaw may be a building block to a stronger connection.
- Stay Curious: View disagreements as inevitable. Approach differences with curiosity, not looking for the "truth" but instead to understand the other’s perspective. Relationships, just like our muscles, strengthen through a recurring process of stress and repair. Repair requires the willingness to really listen and be vulnerable with each other.
- Resist Settling: The more wedding anniversaries couples celebrate, the more challenges they are likely to face with illnesses, job changes, aging, parenting, finances, and other pressures providing stresses that can test the relationship’s mettle. Treat these challenges as opportunities for growth, not accommodation.
Praise for Growing Married
"Karen Skerrett gives us an empowering vision of what a good marriage is and can be. Brimming with clinical examples and based on the findings of her impressive research, Growing Married is a wise book and a valuable guide for couples at every stage of the life cycle." — Daphne de Marneffe, Ph.D., author of The Rough Patch and Maternal Desire
"The importance of a healthy, loving, confirming relationship for all facets of our health has now been established. But how to have one? Skerrett’s book is a beautifully written answer." — Kaethe Weingarten, Ph.D., psychologist and author, associate clinical professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School
Karen Skerrett, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and registered nurse with over 40 years of experience as a clinician, academic, and author who specializes in strength-based approaches to healing and change across the lifecycle. She is the co-author of Positive Couple Therapy, co-editor of Couple Resilience, and author of Tell Me Again How I Know You? She received her doctorate in comparative human development from the University of Chicago and has been on the faculties of many universities.
SOURCE Karen Skerrett