Couples therapist Jason Fierstein recalls the main repeating components seen in all successful marriages.
I talk with a lot of couples and I see a lot of what I think works for relationships and what doesn’t work and I want to share with you what I think works. So intimacy all across the board, whether that’s beginning with sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy, intimacy is a big glue for a relationship and it comes in so many forms and I think that is extremely important.
I think two people that want to be in a relationship that underneath everything, even if there is conflict and even if there is some pain, underneath everything two people who are committed to the relationship and can weather the storms that come and have it in them to hang in there, have the resilience to move forward instead of succumbing to problems that come up, I think that foundation is one of the most important things that build a successful marriage and relationship, that willingness and for that resilience to work through problems together in a committed way.
Love is obviously very important and there are many people who unfortunately have a hard time loving or have blocks from early childhood and so love is such a big and over-used word sometimes but that is extremely important to the relationship.
And to a lesser extent, common hobbies, things that interest both of you are very important, having a sense of humor, being able to laugh together I think is something that bonds us and brings happiness.
Empathy and compassion are vital to a healthy marriage. Understanding where the other person is coming from, really listening deeply and taking their experience into consideration is one of the things that I see most successful couples being able to do and so we all get defensive and reactive when we’re in a fight with our loved one, I understand. Being able to put that aside and hear from the other person’s point of view, to really take them into consideration so that you express empathy; they feel understood and listen to.
I think it was Oprah that said one time that all people really just want to be listened to. Really when it comes down to it I think that’s one of the universal things about being human and being in a relationship and I think this is no different. I think people, whether you’re male or female, really just want to be loved, understood, and listened to, especially in a marriage or relationship and I think this is another critical element to a successful relationship.
About Jason Fierstein, M.A., L.P.C.:
I am a State of Arizona board-licensed professional counselor practicing in Phoenix. My master’s degree is in psychology, with a counseling emphasis, and I have a post-graduate certification in Gestalt Therapy. I have been counseling a variety of different clients for nine years, and have been practicing privately for five.