Couples therapist shares the 5 agreements that strengthen her marriage

couple cuddling in bed couples therapist strengthen marriage
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When we’re young, we fantasize about finding our soul mate and living “happily ever after,” but the reality is marriage is hard work. And when you bring kids into the mix, WHEW, it’s a whole other level of difficult. A couple that’s compatible before children could struggle parenting together (or realize they’re actually incompatible), and even the strongest partners have to be mindful of nurturing their personal relationship as well as their relationship with their child(ren), which is easier said than done.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and remember we’re on the same team. This can seem impossible while in the trenches of parenthood, but there are tools you can use to help keep your marriage strong even through the toughest times. Couples therapist Vanessa Morgan (@vanessamorgantherapy) shared a valuable (and now viral) post on Instagram detailing the five agreements she and her husband keep to protect their marriage:

Advice from a couples therapist on agreements to strengthen your relationship

Here’s what Morgan recommends.

1. Take time outs

“When things get too heated in conflict, we have agreed to take a step back and give each other space. We promise to return to the conversation once we have calmed down and can communicate more effectively. This agreement allows us to avoid saying hurtful things in the heat of the moment and promotes healthier conflict resolution.”

2. We have each other’s back publicly and privately

“We have made a pact to never speak poorly of each other, especially to others, including our children. We believe that maintaining respect and admiration for one another is crucial for a strong and loving partnership. By speaking positively about each other, we create a supportive and uplifting environment for our family.”

3️. Take responsibility for triggers

“We both acknowledge that we have triggers that can affect our emotions and reactions. Instead of blaming each other, we commit to taking care of ourselves when we’re triggered in a way that benefits our relationship. This agreement helps us navigate through difficult moments with empathy and understanding.”

4️. Embrace imperfections

“We accept that we are not perfect and that we both have faults. We have vowed to never shame or criticize each other for our imperfections. Instead, we choose to embrace and support each other’s growth. This agreement fosters a culture of acceptance and allows us to grow together as individuals and as a couple.”

5️. We share our truth (even when it’s hard or scary)

“We have agreed to share our thoughts and feelings in a respectful and clear way, even if we think it may upset the other person. It’s incredibly important NOT to withhold your truth from your partner just because you think it will make them upset. Allowing your partner to have their authentic reaction and feelings is a huge part of relational health.”

Some commenters called these tips the “basics” of a relationship, and they might be, but that doesn’t make them any less important. When we’re caught up in the moment (and that moment could last days, weeks, months or even years as parents), it’s easy to forget the fundamentals of a healthy relationship.

When you’re raising a family together, it’s absolutely crucial for you and your spouse to be on the same page and have each other’s back. If these particular “agreements” don’t speak to you, find a time to discuss with your partner what you both feel would strengthen your marriage and create agreements based on those needs.