Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Seven Secrets to Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Beyond resisting – calmly ‘riding out’ the storms, as we like to say – Building Resilience in Your Marriage can also mean thriving through good times and bad, for better or worse. The bond’s capacity propels two individuals through the chaos and change of life while ensuring the other doesn’t drown. Without it, couples can easily be torn apart in the backwash or undertow.

But in a resilient marriage, the couple is each other’s ‘soft place to land,’ able to depend on one another, be flexible, and stay committed to their partner’s wellness. They’ve crafted a relationship in which the two people feel secure, understood, and meaningful enough to take on the legitimate pain from the outside world so that they can brave it as a team.

The seven secrets to building resilience that we’ll detail here are more than abstract ideas about what to do – they’re a practical synthesis of core elements that have helped to secure many happy marriages. These include talking, feeling, helping each other, sharing interests, flexing, forgiving, and caring for other people. Together, they create the building blocks for a relationship that not only holds steady through thick and thin but also enriches and deepens both partners’ lives.

You will leave with a better sense of how you might use these secrets to make your marriage solid and long-lasting. So, pull up a chair, and let’s get started. 

Secret 1: Communication is Key

Becoming a proficient communicators is the first and most vital secret to having a resilient marriage. Healthy communication is the foundation of a solid marriage; it shifts the connection so that partners can hear each other, understand each other’s needs, and respect each other’s wants or concerns.

Another component of good marital communication is active listening. When actively listening, you are fully present and engaged with what is being said, making avoiding misunderstandings and adequately acknowledging the other’s emotions easier. Active listening means listening for content, not just waiting to respond and formulate your following words while the other person is still talking. One of the most challenging yet crucial components of effective listening is acknowledging the emotions and perspectives of the other person, even when you don’t agree with them or even understand them. Active listening fosters feelings of safety and trust in the relationship by helping to avoid feeling unheard or dismissed.

Nonverbal communication, for instance, includes body language, eye contact, and tone of voice. These are often indirect and can convey much more than the actual words do. It helps to reason about and pay attention to them because they reveal emotions and attitudes that might not intersect with what is said.

On the other hand, good communication requires the capacity to communicate positively, conveying approval and appreciation for each other as living, breathing individuals. Expressing gratitude, admiration, and love toward your partner regularly reinforces the strength of your connection, establishing a positive goodwill bank account that you might both someday exploit to overcome more challenging times.

Last but hardly least, successful partners learn to handle conflicts productively, neither ignoring nor blowing up conflicts but approaching conflict as an opportunity to solve a problem and work things out together in ways that leave both people feeling that their voices have been heard. This approach resolves an immediate problem and improves the relationship overall – couples learn that they can work together to solve their problems in ways that benefit the relationship and each other in the long run.

In short, communication is the backbone of Building Resilience in Your Marriage. It helps couples stay close, solves problems, and provides support as they navigate the ebbs and flows of life. Prioritizing communication ensures that their marriage will be resilient and satisfying. 

Secret 2: Maintain Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is the bond between partners, the intimate and abiding connective tissue that allows for a union between souls and sharing dreams and fears beyond the physical. Day after day, this foundation creates a safe feeling in which both partners can handle the highs and lows of emotions and thoughts through respect, reverence, and love. Any marriage coach will tell you this is one of the most important secrets to Building Resilience in Your Marriage.

Intimacy – particularly emotional intimacy – can be sustained if couples find time to share goals and activities that forge relational bonds. That means regular date nights, shared hobbies, or quiet moments sitting beside each other without distracting technology. These experiences hold meaningful memories that cement bonds between partners.

Finally, openness and vulnerability work to deepen emotional intimacy. Being willing to share your vulnerability with your partner is an invitation to trust and care for each other. This requires you to say things and ask for things in your marriage that you might not be inclined to tell your best friend. As I’ve written, it requires speaking the truth on even the most challenging topics. And when two people are willing to tune their emotional radar to these qualities, it creates the foundation for a resilient marriage.

Empathy and active listening reinforce emotional intimacy. You should remain curious and enthusiastic about your partner’s experiences and listen to them with interest and respect, avoiding disapproval and judgment.

Toughing it out is another path to greater connection. Coping with issues together has the advantage of actually solving whatever problem is at hand and builds trust and intimacy. Shared experiences of navigating hardship can be hugely beneficial in strengthening a marriage.

In sum, maintaining emotional intimacy is important and necessary for a successful, enduring marriage. Emotional intimacy requires work and the couple’s involvement to retain it. Couples can maintain emotional intimacy by staying in touch, listening to each other, and communicating with and supporting one another until sunset.

Secret 3: Support Each Other’s Goals

This is another secret to the strength of a marriage: supporting one another’s goals. That means accepting and respecting your partner’s goals and dreams and encouraging them to pursue them. The life goals of each spouse will influence many of the decisions they make together, not to mention their interactions with one another and with the outside world of work, children, and friends. When partners support each other’s goals, it signals mutual respect and understanding, making them feel like they’re on the same side, even if their goals differ. 

To provide constructive help, it is essential to have open and honest discussions about each other’s goals, desires, and personal expectations. This requires understanding the other person’s priorities in life – what is worth striving for and how to support those goals.

Supporting one another’s goals can mean cheering for each other, providing advice following a setback, and celebrating each other’s recoveries. It can also mean that, at times, a member must put the needs, synchronicity, and pleasures that are part of her to the side so that another can move closer to her goals.

Some more mundane examples of positive expressive support include helping to create conditions that allow goals to be met—that is, time, resources, or other means of support, as well as a measure of moral encouragement and a gentle word of advice. Positive expressive support is essentially being there for your friend, maintaining a close connection, and communicating that you are interested in and care about the other person’s projects and endeavors.

Moreover, supporting each other’s goals can lead to shared goals and increase the sense of shared purpose between spouses. Shared pursuit of common goals enhances marital satisfaction and contributes to relational resilience since husbands and wives form a team to tackle their goals and become each other’s support.

In summary, supporting each other’s life goals is a small but critical meaning-making behavior in a high-quality marriage. It requires active participation, healthy empathy, and investment, which can foster the other person’s pursuit of meaning and potential. Championing each other’s goals can help couples build a more supportive and resilient bond for Building Resilience in Your Marriage.

Secret 4: Cultivate Shared Interests

While cultivating a second self involves embracing the other person as if they were a core, indispensable part of yourself, developing shared interests entails starting with matters of mutual interest. Finding common ground that both partners can enjoy intensifies sensations of companionship and togetherness. It gives rise to shared memories, which add depth to the couple’s relationship and reinforce the coupling’s life raft. Marriages exhibit better resilience when partners cultivate shared interests or, in the language of Strathern’s Pacific Islanders when they discover subjects of mutual interest and ‘make something of them.’ Shared interests establish a second point of connection. Couples bond and communicate over matters that they find mutually stimulating: butterfly watching, tournament chess, jazz clubs, kneading bread, weekend cycling, or raising children.

If both partners are engaged in a shared activity that they are excited about, this can bring new elements into the relationship, keeping it fresh and exciting. It could be accompanying one’s partner in some adventure sport they love to indulge in, whether going paragliding, cycling, or enjoying other outdoor pursuits together. It could also involve cooking, practicing art or music, or volunteering for a cause the partner loves.

Fostering shared interests, therefore, involves (and should involve) investing a great deal of time learning to share and be interested in each other’s enthusiasms. By supporting and being enthusiastic about something your partner loves, even though you might not be a fan of it if you had the choice, your participation tells them their enthusiasm is valid. Couples can regard this as a form of validation, an example of genuine regard for one’s true passions or interests, reinforcing emotional intimacy and understanding.

Additionally, participating in shared activities helps partners function as a team, often requiring them to communicate, plan, and problem-solve. This collaborative work enhances team-functioning skills and a sense of mutual accomplishment and satisfaction in the relationship. It helps cement the view that the couple is ‘in this together,’ sharing the chores of life, the good and evil.

However, we always remember the importance of being able to do some things together as a couple and other things on our own. The key is to schedule the time to allow for both of these spheres. It’s a matter of respect; while you’re riding on your own, I respect your desire to be on your bike; later, you’ll love the massage from me because I also appreciate your willingness to enjoy other things. Making time for rides with friends ensures that you’re not just my bike-riding companion or theirs. It allows all of us to enjoy individual voices that are part of an enormous choir. 

In short, mutually enjoyed marital activities help boost resilience in marriage by facilitating companionship, mutual respect, joy, and a sense of accomplishment: they help ensure that ‘we [are] in it together.’ Couples should seek out mutually enjoyed activities to further build their resiliency, facilitate greater intimacy in marriage, and make their relationship even more engaging and long-lasting for Building Resilience in Your Marriage. 

Secret 5: Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability for Building Resilience in Your Marriage

In a healthy marriage, positionality must be flexible and adapted to changing circumstances. With uncertainty and mutability ever-present, the ability to shift and adjust is required for long-term resilience. The secret is to be willing to make changes, accommodate one another, solve a problem together, and strengthen your relationship. 

Flexibility means that couples are cognitively and emotionally prepared for plans to change, including plans for themselves and their partners. And change often comes when couples don’t anticipate it. It means letting go of specific, narrow expectations about relationships – for example, having to spend every anniversary in an expensive restaurant under a moonlit sky – in favor of more open, general expectations. This ability helps couples to deal more effectively with whatever curveballs life may throw their way, which in turn provides a buffer against stress and conflict that arises from unmet expectations, different kinds of demands toward each other, and rigid attitudes.

Flexibility also entails compromise. A resilient marriage has partners who know that their needs and wants don’t always overlap, that sometimes one is higher or lower in priority, and are willing to split the difference. Their compromise allows for a feeling of equity and mutual respect, the bedrock for a flourishing marriage over the long haul.

None of this can be construed as meaning you must become an obsequious people-pleaser who gives up your identity and aspirations to ‘keep the peace.’ It’s not about taking whatever scraps the world throws at you. Instead, it’s about the art of what you might call consilience around change, where you discover ways to be flexible and adaptable to another person without sacrificing yourself, your values, and your happiness to satisfy them – or to achieve their success at your own expense. It’s about creating a partnership where you and your partner can soar and change in ways that support, rather than limit, you.

In addition, being open to flexibility and adaptability means cooperating to confront and resolve difficulties towards meaningful goals and developing a future-oriented mindset as a shared endeavor, growth, and learning after an adverse event in the relationship. Facing difficult times together in a unified manner allows for strengthening the bond and developing more effective coping resources, both individually and as a couple. There is an often-quoted saying that all love stories are merely lessons in disguise. 

In conclusion, flexibility and adaptability are essential components of a resilient marriage. With this, we can negotiate the vicissitudes of life with aplomb, balance the differences between the personal and interpersonal with dignity, and make the marriage a supportive cocoon and springboard that holds together with strength. We must be the same if we cherish our relationships and want them to serve us well in building resilience in your marriage.

Secret 6: Practice Forgiveness and Letting Go for Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Forgiveness and letting go are secrets to a thriving marriage: letting go of grudges, resolving past pain, and finding peace and understanding to move forward. When you do, trust and intimacy are restored, strengthening the bond of love. Not forgiving robs a marriage of joy and lasting love. Anger soon becomes a downward spiral, tearing and corroding nothing but the sacred covenant of marriage.

Forgiving each other in a marriage means recognizing that we are fallible human beings, much as our spouse or partner might be. It means letting go of hurts and misunderstandings, not because we want to give the other person permission to misbehave, but because we want them to evolve into a more thoughtful and compassionate partner. As we forgive each other, we can pull ourselves and our partners away from the hurt of our past and back into the here and now of our relationship.

In the same way that hanging on is beneficial, so too is letting go. We have all had the experience of holding on to old resentments or bad memories, and sometimes, some traumas threaten a stable relationship. In our capacity to let go of what has happened, we free ourselves to shape a more functional, caring relationship that’s much better prepared to deal with life’s ups and downs. When we let go, we offer our negative experiences for acceptance and decide how to act in the relationship. Forgetting the hurt or the trauma might not be possible, but letting it naturally dissolve into a ‘what’s next?’ is. This empowers us to move past our struggles, making it less likely that old matters hold sway over our actions now. When we can truly let go and do what suits our interdependent relationship, we lay the foundation for a more robust and healthier bond. 

So practicing forgiveness also involves listening and weighing up each other’s perspectives, speaking up when feelings get hurt, and needing to see both sides to reach a settlement that everyone can live with. There’s an element of honesty – saying what you feel and need. Then, it’s about offering a solution from there and negotiating. Hence, it satisfies everyone’s needs to prevent it from kicking up dust underneath the rug and raising itself again sometime later.

Furthermore, in this context, forgiveness is a practice that requires effort, especially over time – throughout a marriage. It also aims to infuse marriage with extraordinary patience and empathy as each experience with refusing to be a victim helps the couple become more and more accepting, tolerant, and united. When each effort to adopt a ‘refusal to be a victim’ stance in the emotional exchange becomes part of being married and choosing to forgive, a couple’s level of commitment, emotional intimacy, degree of connectedness and commitment can increase, and their relationship can deepen, become fuller, more prosperous and increase in stability and durability. 

In summary, forgiving someone and moving on from negative past experiences are essential elements of a thriving, strong romantic relationship. They help bond, heal, handle wounds, and foster mutual understanding and love. When practiced, these essential principles ensure that a marriage faces obstacles with heightened positivity, truth, and love that ultimately translate into a healthy, long-lasting, fulfilling marriage. 

Secret 7: Build a Support Network for Building Resilience in Your Marriage

The last secret to nurturing resilience in your marriage is developing a solid support network to ensure you have the resources to maintain a long-lasting partnership. This group of people love, support, and cherish you and your partner: the family, friends, and other community members in your circle of influence who can share your burdens emotionally, practically, and spiritually. A set of like-minded people who are invested in your couplehood can be a life jacket for the bad times when the waters of your relationship can seem too dark and choppy to continue paddling.

With a network of friends, couples will feel less alone with their issues, get a broader view from a more comprehensive range of people, and see that they are not alone and can still live happy lives despite many difficulties. Friends could give advice, experience similar issues, give a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen.

Secondly, a support network encompasses professional help (e.g., counseling or psychotherapy) – especially where minor difficulties or more insidious, long-standing marital problems are concerned. In such cases, empowering couples to use professional tools and guided experience could open up communication channels and teach couples strategies to help them better confront difficult times.

Ozawa-De Uriarte notes: ‘With new friends, you also get an expanded support network, so a couple can begin to live together and independently. New friendships and networks strengthen your social life and the couple’s family.’ When the primary partner starts having one or two hobbies, they also develop a new support network outside of the intimate relationship and begin to fulfill themselves in additional ways. That can be seen as a reflection of a healthy relationship.

Couples can mitigate some of these risks by proactively nurturing their friendships, keeping lines of communication open, and making these friendships available when needed. They can also invest in their social circles—having friends over, participating in community activities, and staying in touch with their friends and family through phone calls or text messages.

To summarise, in building and maintaining a social support network for marriage, a couple enriches their life, providing themselves with a vital resource to draw upon during difficult periods. Viewing their relationship in this way also helps them maintain a level-headed perspective on their ongoing future together, and in doing so, they affect their ability to endure challenges and make wise decisions. Focusing on constructing and bolstering one’s social connections will make a couple more resilient in the wake of life’s inevitable difficulties. But when those difficulties loom, particularly imposing, it’s not a bad idea to seek professional help. 

Conclusion for Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Ultimately, these are the seven secrets of cultivating Building Resilience in Your Marriage, or, in other words, the secrets to an enduring relationship. Overcoming obstacles and returning our relationship from the brink after a crisis or rough patch was possible through deliberateness, effort, planning, and flexibility. While the process is challenging, it has made our relationship more robust and healthier than when we first started dating. We hope you find these tips helpful along the path to forging your own happy and healthy relationship. 

1. Effective communication is the cornerstone of relationship harmony. 

2. Emotional intimacy is vital to navigate challenges and keep the relationship focused on bonding. 

3. Supporting each other’s goals and dreams is a more significant part of a relationship than we realize. 

4. Creating shared interests is healthy, but we discovered that sometimes finding value in each other’s interests and goals is also a great way to bond. 

5. Flexibility and adaptability are the glue that helps us navigate the ups and downs of life together. 

6. A massive sense of bonding emerged When we saw each other through a difficult time. Forgiveness and letting go are crucial to making a good relationship great. 

7. Creating a connection to people and things to help us tough out the hard times effectively strengthens our relationship.

Resilient marriages are not immune to tribulations or dissent but are resilient enough to carry couples through many challenges and tensions. Following these secrets can boost romance, better know your partner, and create an environment of mutual love and support that endures indefinitely. 

Also, remember that developing and strengthening your resilience will be an ever-evolving journey as you and your relationship evolve and change. The more you continually pay attention to and focus on these seven key aspects, the more value you place on them by demonstrating and expressing your commitment and care, and the better your chances of surviving and thriving together – through a deeply engaged and long-term relationship. 

Ultimately, the keys to a resilient marriage are weaving these strands of love, respect, support, and understanding together to create a durable and meaningful tapestry for you and your partner. When your marriage is rooted in these fundamentals, both partners can look forward to an experience of meaning and resilience. 


What is the most critical factor in building resilience in marriage?

 The key is practical communication because it leads to trust, understanding, and emotional support—all the things that help couples cope better with challenges together and emerge from them feeling closer. 

How can we maintain emotional intimacy over time?

 Emotional intimacy requires regular, ongoing quality contact, mutual disclosure, active listening, affectionate touches, ‘I love you, gratitude, and appreciation—keeping the emotional connection alive no matter what happens.

Is it necessary to have common interests in a marriage?

 It doesn’t have to, of course, but partnering up with someone who shares your interests will typically provide many natural opportunities for fun, bonding, and moments where you have the satisfaction of recalling a shared experience. This adds to the feelings of connection in a relationship, making it more durable through tough times. 

How do flexibility and adaptability contribute to a resilient marriage?

 Flexibility and adaptability enable couples to cope more successfully with life’s vicissitudes, deal calmly with change, and approach change with optimism, viewing problems as challenges to be addressed together. 

Why is forgiveness important in a marriage?

 Forgiveness is vital to healing wounds, helping victims avoid becoming bitter and move on from an intense conflict to find a healthier, more loving relationship and grow stronger over time. 

How can a support network benefit our marriage?

 Support from a support network includes external emotional, social, and practical support. This network gives partners a community, a point of view, and additional resources to help them deal with life and experience marriage more richly.

 By answering these universal questions, couples may discover a new sense of understanding about what it takes to develop and maintain a resilient marriage, including the toolkit necessary to marshal their emerging empathy, compassion, and understanding toward improved romantic relationships and intimacy. 

Further Reading and Resources

 For more information on increasing marital resilience and a wealth of additional tools and tactics to strengthen your marriage over time: 


 Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M Gottman: An egghead’s guide to a marital happy ever after.

 Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (2008) by Sue Johnson, PhD. This book is for couples who want to forge richer relationship intimacy and connection by learning to communicate and attach deeply.


 The Gottman Institute ( Information on their research-based relationship-enhancement work (developed by John and Julie Gottman), with articles, exercises, and workshops. 

 Psychology Today ( is a trove of articles by well-known psychologists and therapists about marriage and relationship issues. 

Online Courses and Workshops:

 Couples therapy and relationship coaching websites such as Relish or Lasting present apps and online courses that can help improve communication, intimacy, or general relationship resilience.

 Or a local community center or therapy clinic where workshops and seminars on these topics are offered.

Podcasts and Videos:

 Suppose you google ‘relationship advice podcast,’ ‘marriage advice podcast,’ ‘dating advice podcast,’ ‘divorce podcast,’ or ‘marriage therapy podcast.’ In that case, you get sites such as,,,, and, but also lots more serious titles: ‘Relationship Advice’ and ‘Marriage Therapy Radio’ will offer you ‘tips on building bullet-proof relationships from relationship and marriage experts.’

 YouTube channels such as The School of Life or TEDx Talks provide various talks on relationships, talking things over, and emotional intelligence.

 These resources can help you pursue a stronger, more resilient marriage, both in general and applied to your situation. Working with these resources can help you gain new insights and skill sets, thus improving marital outcomes.

  1. Thrive Global: How to Build Resilience in Marriage
  2. 15 Tips to Build Resilient Relationships
  3. The Gottman Institute: Rescuing Your Relationship from Stress
  4. APA: Building Your Resilience
  5. Marriage Missions International: Having a Resilient Marriage
  6. Psychology Today: Marriage
  7. Verywell Mind: How to Build a Healthy Marriage
  8. MindTools: Developing Resilience
  9. Forbes: How to Build Resilient Relationships
  10. HelpGuide: How to Build a Healthy Relationship

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