If you’ve ever watched The Dr. Phil Show, you’ve no doubt heard Dr. Phil talk about his lovely wife, Robin, his love for her and their marriage of 40+ years. Theirs is, by all accounts, a strong, committed relationship that has weathered its share of challenges yet remains loving and vibrant. They clearly love and are in love with each other. It’s delightful to see and the envy of many.
So what’s the secret to this kind of relationship longevity and commitment? What makes a relationship strong and enduring? Turns out, strong relationships have a few things in common:
- Spouses have a strong friendship. They genuinely like each other. Their relationship goes beyond sexual attraction. They have fun together. They laugh together. They support each other.
- Spouses respect each other. Sure, they may disagree and even argue. But even so, they remain respectful and fight fair.
- They do nice things for each other. It feels good to do for someone we love and it makes them feel appreciated, needed and loved.
- Spouses contribute to the relationship. They do their part to keep it thriving. They look for ways to make things better.
There are lots more things that healthy couples do but you get the idea. What you do can make a huge difference in your relationship and how it grows – or doesn’t.
In his work with couples on his show, Dr. Phil is adamant that it is up to each person in the relationship to take responsibility for his or her part in the relationship. “Fixing” your partner is not the answer to fixing your relationship. You have to own your own stuff and what you bring to the relationship.
So what is it that Dr. Phil has said that he does?
When talking about his and Robin’s relationship on his show, Dr. Phil often says that he wakes up each day and asks himself what he can do to make his wife’s day better. Whenever he says that, the cameras show Robin emphatically shaking her head yes.
Do something each day to make your spouse’s day better. So simple yet so powerful an act. Putting your spouse first and looking for ways to show kindness, love and care goes a long, long way in building and maintaining that connection.
When people do nice things for us, we feel loved and wanted. These feelings also make us want to do nice things for them in return. This creates momentum and keeps the relationship moving forward. It can be hard sometimes – especially when we aren’t not at our most lovable – but the relationship payoff is worth it.
Want to learn more about keeping your relationship going strong? Marriage counseling can help! It isn’t just for relationships in trouble. A skilled marriage counselor can help you to find ways to keep your marriage healthy and vibrant through every stage of your journey.