8 Proven Tricks to Strengthen Your Marriage
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Stay Strong1 of 9
By Jenna Birch for Woman's Day
A romantic getaway isn't the only way to reignite the spark in your marriage. Likewise, there are options beyond running to a marriage therapist if you're disagreeing about key issues. Certain everyday habits can bring you and your spouse closer, though you might not think of these on your own. Here are eight surprising tips to bolster your marriage that are too easy not to take.
Think Quantity Not Quality2 of 9
When spouses don't get busy regularly, they can lose physical connection. Clinical sexologist and marriage therapist Kat Van Kirk, DHS, author of The Married Sex Solution, suggests "removing the expectation of having long, technical lovemaking sessions." Whether it's a quickie in the shower or making out like teenagers before bed, "ten focused minutes can build more intimate moments than many couples have experienced in years," she says.
Write On3 of 9
Next time you argue, try writing down the details from a neutral standpoint. In a study from Northwestern University, couples who wrote about previous marital conflicts from a third-party perspective reported greater relationship satisfaction than those who didn't. Researchers believe it's because the writing group was able to glean new insights about the disagreements or better understand their spouses.
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Hug It Out4 of 9
"Often, kisses and hugs become mechanical and quick," says marriage and family therapist Kim Blackham. The problem: Hurried pecks and embraces don't offer the same feel-good benefits longer stretches of physical intimacy do. "Oxytocin, a chemical our bodies release when we touch one another, emotionally connects people," says Blackham. No need to set a timer, says Blackham, but do extend hugs and kisses to feel a new sense of connection.
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Take a Walk5 of 9
If you're trying to decide how you two should handle your daughter's poor report card, hit the pavement. "The very act of walking in the same direction can help you two feel as though you're on the same team and want the same result," explains Blackham. Physically heading to one place makes you more likely to be mentally in sync; it's like you're standing together instead of confronting each other.
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Sync-Up Your Drinking6 of 9
Couples who drink together stay together? Yes, according to a study from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions. Heavy drinker/light drinker pairs had a divorce rate of 50 percent, whereas spouses who enjoyed alcohol in equal amounts were 30 percent likely to divorce. So a disparity in drinking habits is a better predictor of divorce than the drinking itself, probably because they're less likely to fight about their differences.
Cozy Up7 of 9
Next time you're out, try grabbing a booth or putting separate chairs at a table side by side. You may be inclined to take a seat across from your partner, but "it's a more aggressive stance," says Blackham. After all, it's how you and a prospective employer sit during an interview. So go ahead and be that couple at the restaurant. "It's a friendlier and much more intimate position," Blackham adds.
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Jot It Down8 of 9
Once a day for a week, secretly write down something your man did that touched you. "Many times, especially in long-term relationships, the little things our partners do for us get overlooked, which eventually leads to husbands feeling resentful," says relationship expert Christina Steinorth-Powell. Keeping a list helps you feel grateful, and sharing that list at the end of the week with your spouse makes him feel appreciated.
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Watch a Rom-Com9 of 9
You always knew there was a practical purpose to watching Harry and Sally fight—now science confirms it. According to a study from the University of Rochester, seeing movies about relationships and then discussing them with your partner is just as effective at reducing divorce rates as learning about conflict management and compassion. It could be because those films deal with universal couple conflicts and provide a forum to talk about the issues.
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