How to Balance “You” with “Us”

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by Sylvia Smith

What makes a marriage successful? Many people think about the obvious parts, finding common ground, and being physically and emotionally attracted to one another. But there are some less obvious aspects that should be taken into consideration when marrying your partner. It can be difficult to decide how much time the two of you should spend together and how much time you should spend apart. It can also be a challenge to maintain a sense of your own independence, while trying to be someone’s “other half”. Not to mention if you and your partner have careers or if you have children. Hopefully the following tips can help you to have a happier, longer lasting marriage.

1. Finding Middle Ground

Research shows that finding middle ground may be the first key to success. Not being too involved with each other, but also not being too distance from each other, can help ensure a lasting relationship. Due to the fact that we often learn our behavior patterns from our families, you and your partner may have different ideas on togetherness, so finding a new balance may be necessary. When doing so, it’s always better to come from a place of willing cooperation, rather than discontent. It might feel a bit challenging to reach this middle ground, no matter how similar you and your partner’s family life is. But stick with it and try to keep a positive attitude. Putting in this effort early in the relationship, will be worthwhile later on.

2. Unique Balance

The most important thing to keep in mind while working with your partner on finding balance, is that this balance needs to be unique to this relationship. What works for your family, or maybe even what has worked in past relationships, probably won’t work in your current relationship.

3. Connect and Reconnect

If you and your partner both have steady jobs, finding balance can be more challenging. Again, find ways unique to the two of you to stay in touch with each other that involve non-stressful communication. This can help promote the bond between you. Also, finding ways, even brief ways, to reconnect with each other weekly can strengthen the relationship.

People are entering in marriages later and later in life these days. This time you spend essentially single is great for you to discover who you are. It allows you to learn what makes you tick and help you grow as a person. This growth inevitably leads to maturity, which is a huge plus in a marriage. But this maturity can accentuate the ways in which you and your partner differ as you try to mesh your two separate lives into one. So how can you confront this challenge? First, you need to understand what your needs and wants are (and the difference between the two) and express these clearly to your partner. Then discuss what ways you are willing to find a solution to help you both feel fulfilled. Sometimes this is as simple as consulting your partner when you make decisions.

4. Communicate

It is important to remember that just because you are in a relationship together, does not mean you have to agree 100% of the time. It simply means that when you do find yourselves having different opinions, you are able to express yourself openly and listen intently to the other person. Clear communication is a must.

5. Accept Change and Make Sacrifices

Of course, sacrifices will always have to be made. But if you both are willing to take on some of that burden, you will find ways to compromise that don’t feel like a chore.

In planning for the success of a marriage, always keep in mind that there needs to be balance. This balance is not just in how much time you spend with each other, but balance in decision-making, compromise, and work versus play. Remember to spend some stress-free time bonding with your significant other, and always try to find the middle ground. Above all, keep the communication lines open and be a careful speaker, as well as an attentive listener.


Sylvia smith_optSylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with Marriage.com, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy).

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