Some couples tend to look at other marriages and think that they’re fairytale romances: the couple they idolize is happy, healthy, never has anything wrong with them, and seems to have everything going for them.

Behind the scenes, however, every relationship has its challenges and is arguably far from perfect. In this article I will lay out several targets that may be impossible to hit every time, but are worth shooting for in our attempt to attain that perfect marriage that evades us “mere mortals.”

A healthy marriage, while it may have its share of blow ups or arguments, displays a mature way of handling conflict, not always of course, but most of the time. This is the first target you want to aim for: a healthy way of handling conflict. In contrast, a picture-perfect marriage never has conflict.

In your relationship, does conflict entail heading to battle stations and preparing for warfare, including heated arguments, defending your position which is always right, raising voices, and then stomping off if you don’t get your way? If so, it’s time to change your tactics. When you do, you’ll find that your home is not only much more peaceful, but welcoming as well.

Consider that you’ll always have some type of conflict in your marriage. After all, you’re different people with different backgrounds, interests, habits, and opinions. It’s only natural. But, conflict doesn’t have to be such a big deal.

When it happens, let go of defending yourself or your position. Be open to truly hear what your partner has to say and make every attempt to understand where they’re coming from. Then you’ll have a better chance at arriving at a mutually-beneficial compromise that works for both of you.

The second target, which is the hallmark of a mature marriage, is how a couple handles communication. When it comes to conflict, it’s easier for spouses to just ignore each other and agree to get along by avoiding any type of interaction or conversation at all. Healthy couples confront conflict, seeking to understand the other’s feelings, and actually listening to what is being said. Instead of waiting impatiently for your spouse to shut up so that you can say what really needs to be said, take an interest in understanding their point. You may find that once you do, your spouse is right more often than you think. And the respect you convey to your spouse may be what’s needed to break down the barrier to his or her heart.

Only perfect couples never hurt each other. For the rest of us, it may seem that every day we hurt our spouse, despite our well-meaning intentions. Your final aim in getting your marriage back on track is to figure out a healthy way of handling how you hurt each other. I've found that the best way to deal with this pain is to both give and receive forgiveness.

When that happens, more often than not, healing tends to take place. Without out it, anger, bitterness, and resentment will take root and grow, eventually poisoning your relationship. That's why forgiveness is so crucial.

If you sense something has come between you two, ask your spouse if you’ve done something that has offended him or her. After you’re done listening, apologize, communicating your true intention (not to hurt them) and ask forgiveness.

While it’s completely unrealistic that couples are never in conflict, never hurt each other, and always communicate flawlessly, a healthy marriage is characterized by a mature means of resolving conflict, handling hurt by giving and receiving forgiveness, and engaging in communication that respects both sexes.

Author's Bio: 

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