What is the recipe for happy marriage?

Glen, what do you think might be a recipe for happy marital relationships? (An inquiry from a reader of my book and blogs.)

Response: I’ve been a part-time individual/marital counselor and wellness coach for a long time. What I endeavor to assist people with, is to mindfully gather and embrace a deep and abiding sense of true appreciation, and to figure out how to healthfully avoid any sense of ‘one-upmanship’ in their relationships…avoiding an unhealthful ‘us-against-them’ type of mien. I believe it is all about learning to better and better display dignity, decency, goodness, and grace in our interactions…and figure out how to truly mean it, no matter what. This is complemented by the notion of Acting Without Acting, e.g., doing the right thing for the right sake…without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas; and further complemented by the Same Boat Theory, the notion that we are not so separate as we often think and act (the primary fault of humankind is the notion that you are there and I am here); lastly, it is about the true responsibility of supporting others in their healthful goals. These are among the central tenets of the tradition of ‘true health,’ set forth in my book.

It is SO important to lovingly embrace a spirit in which we view/witness each and every day…even each moment, as opportunities, miracles with which we can be inspired anew. It isn’t just about being honest in marital relationships, it is about learning to better and better be mindfully, appreciatively, and lovingly honest. Is there anything better on this earth than learning to share true happiness with our spouse? It is obviously NOT for me to say in the absolute sense…albeit what could be better than experiencing ‘glimpses of Heaven’ with our partners? What if such glimpses became common…a resplendently healthful way of life – how great would this be? AND what if no matter how good things get, we embrace the notion/gift that there is always room for improvement – even deeper loving closeness? — Dr. Glen Hepker

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