Marriage Counselling: Five pillars to keep your love alive.

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Posted: April 16, 2024

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Love The One You’re With by Josh Spurlock

Nobody can predict the future. We enter marriage with the best of intentions to “love and to hold…in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.” Yet we know, how easy it is to become derailed and find ourselves experiencing pain, hurt and disappointment. So, how do we keep the embers of love burning? This article will offer 5 ways in which couples can nurture and nourish their relationships “till death do us part.”

First and foremost, we have to recognize that marriage is a bond defined by emotions. We are brought together or pulled apart by how we FEEL about each other, and ourselves within the marriage. We also feel within ourselves the longing to be loved by our spouse, and equally that they notice and value our best efforts at loving them. This two-way, bi-directional, way of relating is part of the deal when we come into a marriage. We form a team, a partnership in which we expect special attention, support, and care. These three elements will define the quality and longevity of a marriage. Here are 5 pillars based on research and experience, which are sure to keep your love alive and give you a chance at lasting connection.


Our need for others is Absolute!

That’s just the way we are as humans! These needs for others are deeper in a marriage than the practical everyday needs for food and shelter. Rather, God made us to need that special person we can EMOTIONALLY attach with. How do we do maintain and grow this attachment?

  • Looking at each other whilst having a conversation.
  • Establish rituals to make you feel connected. Decide together what you might do. For example, creating a personal sharing ritual to share personal things not for problem solving, but to encourage openness.
  • Validating your spouse’s daily struggles and victories, and vice versa.


It is emotional presence that matters!

Often a spouse does all the practical things in the home and for the family, but still feels they have fallen short of their spouses’ expectations! The trap is to believe our value is in doing. By not paying real attention, and NOT being present with our spouse, we unwittingly communicate dismissiveness and lack of care. Performance and playing the role of a spouse can take the place of true engagement and presence. We must learn to be emotionally present.

Obsession with performance is a dead end!


Know your story!

We are broken. We have ups and downs in marriage. It is important to recognize when there have been downs and what you did to come out on top.

You can do this by creating a clear narrative of your own marriage. It helps you to have a reference point for where you got stuck and how you come unstuck TOGETHER. This will build RESILIENCE and self-belief that you can ride the tidal waves of life TOGETHER. The following ideas may help to come up with your own story.

  • Together choose three words or images to describe the down times.
  • Together, identify two verbs to describe what each of you did for the marriage to come out of a major down time.
  • Notice three emotions which describe your current relationship.

These descriptors make up your story of RESILIENCE.


A shared vision of the future.

This is an opportunity to be open about and share your vision for the future of your relationship. Ideally you will be able to make it a reality together and support one another to reach your goals.

You can also forecast into the future the type of message you would like to give future generations about your relationship. What legacy do you want to leave for generations to come?


Love needs attention.

Much like a plant, we have needs, specifically, emotional needs in a marriage. If these are neglected and not met by our spouse, then the marriage withers and can sometimes die. Recognizing our own and each other’s needs and responding to those needs allows for growth and sustenance of the relationship.

Some simple ways to respond and meet one another’s needs can include:

  • Noticing, pausing and being curious each time our spouse has an emotional reaction.
  • Taking courage and being willing to be emotionally present with a spouse, even when it could be uncomfortable for YOU.
  • Making important topics and issues to your spouse a top priority for you, above other things and people.

Finally, don’t give up! There will be ups and downs. You have to practice to keep your love alive. You need to take a risk, be brave, and finally have a shared vision for the marriage into the future with your spouse.

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This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

About the Author
Peter Muhwati
Peter Muhwati

Peter Muhwati MS, LCSW is a counselor at MyCounselor. He completed his higher education at Penn State University and has a Master’s of Social Work from Royal Holloway, University of London. Peter is a licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and is certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples.

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