Psychologists say that happiness in the family depends on the degree of mutual satisfaction of the basic needs of men and women in marriage. Therefore, marriage should be perceived as a mutual obligation of two people towards each other as whole individuals.
During a recent talk by Saul Gordon, psychologist and director of the Institute for the Study of Family and Education, a group of parents asked him, "How important is sex in a relationship?" He reported that, according to his research, sex ranked ninth among the ten most important aspects of relationships, far behind such traits as caring or love, a sense of humor and communication.
Let's look at Gordon's list of the ten essential elements of marriage, with each item explained by marital counselor Dr. H. Norman Wright.
1. Laughter. The ability to laugh and a developed sense of humor can bring balance to everyday life. Look for the humor in the situation instead of letting it tear you apart.
2. Friendship. As a couple, you have a few friends that you enjoy spending time with, but you also have a few that you each hang out with separately. This is normal and even necessary. Your partner will be able to meet some of your needs, but there are other people who have the same hobbies or sports interests as you, and the time spent with them in these activities is healthy.
3. Participation. As a married couple, you seek to form a sense of common purpose for anything outside of your marriage and home. As you work together on a significant project or event, you will feel a sense of belonging. Some couples teach together in Sunday School or serve on a committee together.
4. Generality. This means sharing thoughts, information, work, plans, etc. The artificiality of the structure of male and female roles in the home is gradually changing, and this change provides more opportunities to share, based more on abilities, gifts and joint activities than on a rigid structure.
5. Decency. To be a person who can be relied upon and trusted, who does not compromise one's beliefs and standards, is a manifestation of decency.
6. Conversation. A conversation that is interesting and informative, contains news and emotions, is a valuable investment in marriage. Having open and honest communication, free from fear, revealing your feelings or interfering with the feelings of another, is of great importance.
7. Love, including caring, closeness, trust and responsibility. Consistent mindful actions in big and small speak of love just like words. To be in love means to treat another person with sympathy and strive to be with him.
8. Adaptability involves understanding the uniqueness of another person. Adaptation means accepting the other person for who they are, without trying to make a photocopy of them. It means allowing the other person to do things differently and be different than you.
9. Sex. Sexual satisfaction is an expression of shared intimacy. To be satisfying, sex must be combined with love. Too many couples get fed up with their sexual relationships and sex becomes commonplace. sex is a part of marriage, but some couples overestimate it as the main good of marriage.
10. Tolerance means that you accept the other person for who they are. By accepting the other person's quirks, sometimes forgetfulness or bad mood, you show that you allow your partner to be the same person as you. When you need to, express displeasure or concern in a way that helps the relationship rather than hinders it.
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