When we love our spouse we help strengthen the marriage we have. Unfortunately many married couples stop loving each other after a period of time. To help understand why the expressions of love seem to decrease over time in marriage and for tips on loving your spouse, I have interviewed psychotherapist Mona Barbera, Ph.D.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a couples therapist in private practice in Boston and Brookline, with 37 years of experience, and the author of the award winning relationship book, ‘Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection into Intimacy.’ I follow the Internal Family Systems model and I am an Assistant Trainer for this model. I offer couples workshop internationally and train psychotherapists to do couples therapy.”
Why is that once couples are married the expressions of love seem to decrease?
“Every relationship has challenges, and when they start showing up we get bent out of shape, resentful, or withdraw. Then we stop offering the appreciation that keeps a marriage alive. Good marriages have 7 times more appreciations than criticisms.”
What are 7 tips you can give for loving your spouse?
“The following are my 7 tips for loving your spouse.
1. If it’s intense it’s your own stuff. If you are intensely upset or angry, it’s really about you. So think about what you can do to improve or change about yourself.
2. If you are moderately upset, it’s time to give constructive feedback.
3. Don’t give a word of feedback until you get calm and are ready to stay that way no matter how your spouse responds.
4. Give more of yourself than you are getting. You will love what happens when you do this. So do it and watch the rewards of love pour in.
5. Take your relationship challenges with your spouse as your personal challenges and know that it will make you a better person.
6. It’s a package deal. Your spouse comes with good and bad and you can’t have one without the other. So remember this in times of conflict.
7. You are the only one you have control over when there is conflict. So focus on what you can do, not on what your partner should do.
Where can someone get additional ideas for loving their spouse?
“From my book, ‘Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection into Intimacy.'”
Thank you Mona for doing the interview on 7 tips for loving your spouse. For more information on Mona Barbera or her work you can check out her website on http://www.monabarbera.com.
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