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By Dr. Robi Ludwig
As we are all well aware, the stress of motherhood is enough to “shove” you over the edge. Add a work schedule to the mix and it’s likely that you will sprint to your nearest pharmacy for a Costco size case of Prozac. Before we hit rock bottom, spiraling like a child “amped” up on sugar, we ask ourselves, “How can I possibly handle it all?
I was asked to do a segment for the Today show, where I had to counsel the latest on air couple to get married (and they were such an adorable and charming couple, too) about the essential ingredients to achieve a successful marriage. I’m always a little bit struck whenever I’m asked to talk about this topic, because the truth is, I don’t think anyone has the definitive answer, to this age old yet endlessly intriguing question.

Over the years, as a marital counselor and observer of couples in general, it’s become quite clear that no one has the perfect marriage or concrete guide on how to get one either. Having said that, there are certain couples who manage to capture our imagination and attention by their intriguing ability to project an idyllic romantic picture of marriage or what a successful partnership looks like. What do they do or have that helps them to achieve this kind of enviable relationship? Well, here are some suggestions that I think successful, romantic couples do, in order to make their marriage both look and feel rewarding.

1) Respect. That’s a biggie!!! Romantic power couples seem to really respect each other. They convey this respect thru their body language and the way that they talk with and about one another. They also show this respect by the way they rely on each other; especially during difficult times. One thing is clear….there’s no way to have a successful marriage, if you don’t authentically respect your partner.

2) Give up unrealistic expectations. It’s really easy to compare our relationships to the romantic, idealized images we see on the screen. We want perfection and for our partners to be perfect, or at least perfect for us. We are lead to believe this idealized image of love is what real love really is like. And I completely understand how we could think this way. Who wouldn’t want to be flattered 24/7, with kind, sexy and seductive attention? It’s only natural; right?! But real relationships live within the confines of the real world, which is not always sexy or fun. This is a little disappointing, I know! But all couples have to deal with this sometimes unfortunate truth.
Remember, to compare is to despair. Instead, I recommend that couples create!!!! Focus on what makes your relationship feel rewarding, exciting and gratifying and then keep doing it. Don’t loose site of the strength your relationship already offers you and more importantly don’t try to fit your relationship into an unrealistic box it never was meant to fit into anyway.

3) Be Solution Oriented. Don’t hit below the belt when arguing. Consider your partner’s feelings. Don’t just blame and complain. For a marriage to be happy, couples need to work together, like a team, to find mutually acceptable solutions.

4) Be Grateful. Think of the ways, you can even list them if you want to, that you’ve benefited from being married to your partner. Keep adding to the list and re-read it frequently. When we’re in a grateful state of mind, we’re less likely to take our loved ones or our marriage for that matter, for granted.

5) Continue to work towards making yourself interesting. The more fulfilled and happier we feel with ourselves and the more we’re able to meet our own personal life goals, the more content we’ll feel not only with ourselves, but with our partners too. And they’ll probably be happier with us also. Especially if we make our partners feel like they had something to do with our success, because they probably did on some level, if you really think about it.

6) Get on the same financial page. It’s hard to feel loving when you’re not working financially as a team. Get financially naked with one another. Talk about what it is you want and the best way to achieve your $$ life goals together.

7) Intend to have a happy relationship. Intention goes a long way to creating a relationship that feels fulfilling and rewarding. If your intention is to love your partner and create a life that feels happy and satisfying, then you have a great chance of accomplishing that goal.

8) Don’t talk negatively about your partner. Happily married couples say loving and supportive things to and about each other. They treat each other like they are truly best friends. Remember, words have power to create the type of relationship you want to have, so use them wisely. People will believe what you say about your partner, whether it’s good or bad. Always a good thing to keep in mind.

9) Remember to laugh, have fun and enjoy your partner. Hey, isn’t that what life is really all about anyway? What’s the point if you can’t have fun, learn and experience what life has to offer with your loved one along the way?! Isn’t that why we marry them in the first place? I think so!

10) And don’t forget to keep it sexy. Sex is not the only important factor in a happy relationship, but it certainly helps to keep couples feeling emotionally connected to one another. It also helps couples to feel like they chose the right partner when their sex life is sizzling. So keep it fresh but more importantly, definitely keep the sex and sexiness going (wink, wink!).

Obviously there are lots of other factors that go into a successful and romantic partnership. But the above 10 tips are some really good strategies to start off with. They can help start the ball rolling or keep the fires burning, depending on what ever point in marriage you’re in.

You can learn more about Dr. Robi at

Dr. Robi Ludwig's Profile
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