RELATIONSHIPS: Thrive in Marriage | Great Health Guide
RELATIONSHIPS: Thrive in Marriage

RELATIONSHIPS: Thrive in Marriage

‘Marriage: How to Thrive’ by Dr Matthew Anderson published in Great Health Guide (Nov 2016). Whether you are already married or planning to be married in the future, this article provides information on how to flourish in your marriage. Practice these attitudes and behaviours as shown by Dr Matthew Anderson’s guide to creating a healthy, thriving marriage with your spouse. The ‘Marriage Thriver’s Skill Test’ by Dr Anderson is also included to help build your relationship.
Read other Relationship articles on Great Health Guide, a hub of expert-inspired resources empowering busy women to embody health beyond image … purpose beyond measure.

Relationships: Marriage: How to Thrive

written by Dr Matthew Anderson

Warning! This is a tough talk article. If you are considering marriage or already married, you may be upset by what you read. You may discover that you are not ready for marriage or that you are currently incapable of creating a marriage that thrives. However, if you are not yet married and heed my advice you will save yourself a tremendous amount of suffering. If you are already in a marriage, you could benefit greatly if you apply even a small part of the crucial information below.


You are already aware that half of all marriages fail. I imagine that you also are aware that many marriages that survive divorce simply do just that; survive. Only a small percentage of the survivors go on to create a relationship that truly thrives with joy, deep intimacy and significant mutual love, respect and support.

However, the ‘thrivers’ do exist and their success is not a mystery. They make their special relationship last and grow by applying a number of very specific attitudes and behaviors that can be taught, learned and applied.

I have described these powerful guidelines for thriving in my book The Resurrection of Romance: How to create and sustain a world class romantic relationship that lasts. However, for those of you who have not read the book, I have created a short cut to help you assess your own readiness to make your marriage thrive and your romance blossom. That short cut is in the form of a test (see below). In just a few moments you can find out if you have what it takes to create and sustain a truly satisfying marriage. If you discover that you lack all the skills necessary to make your relationship thrive, don’t despair. You can then refer to the test as a guide for what to pay attention too next.

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What are the benefits of a thriving love relationship? Marriage has gotten such a negative reputation in recent decades that many couples are unaware of the truly astounding gifts that are the result of a healthy, thriving relationship between two committed lovers. However, no other form of human connection provides the potential for such life transforming experiences as does a fully blossomed romantic relationship. A fully realized, blossoming, long-term romantic relationship has more healing power than years of psychotherapy, more access to ecstasy than any mind altering drug, more spiritual realization than most relationships with gurus, more power to engender creativity than an artistic mentor and more ability to empower personal growth than the best motivation coach.

To thrive in a marriage, you must be able to answer YES to all of the following questions, AND you must be in a relationship with someone who can also answer YES. Otherwise it is not going to happen (unless both of you decide to make real and meaningful changes based on the list below). Read each question carefully and answer honestly.


1. Do you and your partner affirm each other at least twenty times for each negative comment? This is a 20 to 1 ratio. Really happy couples often say that this ratio is even higher than 20 to 1 but that is a good start.

2. Do you affirm each other daily? Every day matters in a happy relationship. Affirmation counts when it is honest and frequent. It validates and encourages and reminds both partners why they got married in the first place.

3. Is emotional vulnerability a daily part of your communication? Emotional vulnerability is the cornerstone of deep intimacy and deep intimacy is the heart of romantic love. An open heart, undefended and accessible, will carry a couple through any valley of adversity. It will also raise their love to ecstatic heights.

4. Do words really matter? Your words and your tone make a powerful difference in the effect you have on your love partner each and every day. There are no ‘throw away’ words. Everything you say counts.

5. Is sex almost always about making love? Sex is not about mutual masturbation. It is not about tension release. Sex is about naked hearts meeting naked bodies in the most intimate connection possible.


6. Do you consider your loving relationship precious? To consider something (your loving relationship) to be precious means to think of it as an enormous treasure that both deserves and requires care, protection and attention.

7. Do you consider your loving relationship primary? Is your relationship more important than work or play or even the kids? The husband/wife connection must be prior to the father/mother connection.

8. Is anger a rare occurrence? Rare, in this case, means once or twice a year. Frequent anger between partners is a sign of dysfunction and needs immediate and significant attention. Otherwise it becomes toxic and destroys intimacy.

9. Is your loving connection more important than being right? Is your love for one another greater than either of your egos? Being right begets self-righteousness and that creates defensiveness and emotional distance. True lovers enjoy it when their partner gets it right. Ego-sacrifice, in these situations, creates warmth and trust and appreciation.

10. Are you consistently responsive to your partner? Being regularly attentive and responsive to your partner validates her/him. It also establishes a flow of communication that increases play, joy, understanding and appreciation.

11. Do you avoid habituation? Overdoing habits in any area of your relationship will cause desensitization and a loss of awareness of the other. Adding spontaneity, small changes, creativity to the ordinary aspects of your life together will ensure excitement, interest and stimulation.

So now you know what you are good at and what you and your love partner need to work on. Whatever effort you have to make will be worth it for both of you. Very little in this world is as wonderful as a thriving romantic relationship. So go for it. If you need help you can find it at my website or email me.

Author of this article:
Reverend Matthew Anderson has a Doctor of Ministry specializing in counselling and has extensive training and experience in Gestalt and Jungian Psychology. He has helped many couples and singles successfully navigate relationship issues. He has a best-selling book, The Resurrection of Romance. Matthew may be contacted through his website.

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