Vol 2, No. 9 Jul 2012

...A monthly newsletter designed to help make your marriage great. Each issue contains articles, tips and more.

What Makes a Marriage Strong? “LEGS”

by Lynn M. Griesemer

     I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Psychologist Dr. Bill Commins during a few engagement preparation programs in the past.  He’s a great speaker who believes that LEGS makes for strong marriages. 

     He begins some of his talks stating that marriage is a contract that we give each other in order to get happiness.   We actively enter a contract with our spouse; we are not passively receiving something granted from the state or religious institution.  In this contract, we  bargain, exchange goods and we expect happiness. 

     As we are seeking happiness, let’s ask, “What makes a strong marriage?”  Dr. Commins says that Loyalty, Empathy, Generosity and Self-Sacrifice (LEGS) provide a sturdy foundation, like legs that support a table.  I will share some of Dr. Commins’ ideas here, blended with my thoughts too.

     Loyalty.  Loyalty might make us think of allegiance to our country or boss / profession and other obligations.  Loyalty is also faithfulness to another person.  It involves unwavering attachment and affection and standing firm to a value, ideal or person.  Negative talk or complaining and criticism behind your spouse’s back is contrary to demonstrating loyalty.

     Empathy.  Orienting yourself to the feelings of your spouse promotes love. 

     Generosity.  This is the gift that you can give over and over!  Have a generous spirit by assuming the other is well-intentioned.  Show admiration and kindness as opposed to criticism.  Be generous with the gift of yourself.

     Self-sacrifice.  Even when you may be tired or feeling like you want to do things your way, consider doing something for your partner.  Let’s say you’ve both had long days at work and neither wants to make dinner.  You’re on a tight budget and do not want to spend money going out to eat.  By making dinner and cleaning up even when you do not feel like it would be a huge boost to your partner, who might have had a more tiring day than you did.  You will both feel grateful afterwards.  It is the little sacrifices that add up.  Making bigger sacrifices should be done with a spirit of enthusiasm. 

     A strong marriage has LEGS.  Ask yourself, “When was I incorporating ‘LEGS’ or not including ‘LEGS’ in relating with my spouse?”

Dr. Commins was a guest on my radio program last year.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marriagecoachlynn/2011/03/28/the-second-time-around-second-marriages

Lynn M. Griesemer is a Marriage Coach and has been happily married for over 25 years. She helps struggling marriages improve and good marriages become great. www.marriagecoachlynn.com.

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There seems to be an ongoing conflict between our desire to satisfy ourselves and knowing that it is important to please our spouse.  Sacrifice is sometimes easy and at other times can be challenging.  The best sacrifices are the constant little ones we make along the way, whether every day or a few times a week.  Do something today that your spouse ordinarily does that will lift a burden or save a few minutes of his or her precious time.

Picture Couples Corner

Meet Bernie and Wanda.   At 44, this is Bernie’s fist marriage and Wanda’s second (after spending 20 years raising her son as a single parent).  Bernie and Wanda met three years ago and proceeded very slowly and carefully with their relationship.  Bernie has been sober for five years and has never been happier in his life.   Listen to their story on my 30 minute program from 1/11/11.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marriagecoachlynn/2011/01/11/now-that-ive-found-the-right-one-what-am-i-doing-to-prepare-for-marriage


“Everything we do – good or bad, effective or ineffective, painful or pleasurable, crazy or sane, sick or well, drunk or sober – is to satisfy powerful forces within ourselves.” – William Glaser


Nurture your marriage and invest in resources, conferences, weekend retreats, therapy or coaching as a way to deepen your understanding of yourself and your relationship. Some people spend 15 minutes a day with prayer, meditation or spiritual reading.  How about 15 minutes per day on marital reading?! Professional development is one’s career is important and so too is your marriage.   Please add “Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days” to your personal library.  You won’t be disappointed!


Here’s what others are saying about the book:

“You have provided a lot of practical advice and exercises that should help the reader. If I had to sum it up in one word, 'communicate' would be my choice. Much of the advice and many of the exercises help the two partners to rekindle communication with one another.” – P.W., Annandale, VA

Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days it is very informative, friendly and positive. What I like is that it gives positive reinforcement. What you are doing is great. I am thankful for people (like yourself), expressing and living their lives about what they are passionate about.” – F.A., Chantilly, VA.

© 2012 Lynn M. Griesemer

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