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8 Scientific Secrets Of A Happy Marriage

8 Scientific Secrets Of A Happy Marriage

Marriage isn’t just an art, it’s also a science. Happy couples follow these eight secrets which improve their relationship satisfaction and increase their chances of long-term success.

1. Celebrate Good News Together

One of the best secrets of a happy marriage is to celebrate good news and success together, according to research conducted by psychologists Shelly Gable, an assistant professor at UCLA, and Harry Reis, a professor at the University of Rochester.

They found that happy couples don’t have to celebrate just the major successes, like a job promotion, to be happy. Instead, couples who celebrate every day victories, such as finding a lost object, are more likely to experience a happy marriage.

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2. Keep Your Expectations High

In the past, most marriage experts have encouraged couples to lower their expectations based on the idea that having too high of expectations will only lead to disappointment. However, newer research shows that if you expect good things from your marriage, it’s more likely to happen.

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples were most happy when their expectations matched their skills. Couples who had high expectations of one another weren’t necessarily doomed to be disappointed, but instead experienced high marital satisfaction when their partner met those expectations.

3. Maintain Close Relationships Outside the Family

Happy couples recognize that they can’t always meet one another’s needs. Therefore, they maintain close relationships with friends and family and encourage one another to get some of their needs met by others.

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Happy couples know how to give one another just the right amount of support and then allow others to provide support when necessary. According to a study conducted by the University of Iowa’s Center for Couple and Family studies, giving unwanted advice can be detrimental to a marriage. Therefore, happy couples know when to back off and allow their spouse to seek support from a mother, sibling, friend, or co-worker.

4. Enjoy an Active Intimate Life

An active sex life is important part of a happy marriage. Couples who are less sexually active experience less marital satisfaction, according to a study conducted by Denise Donnelly in The Journal of Sex Research. Couples who engage in frequent sexual activity are more likely to have a happy marriage.

A couple’s sex life doesn’t have to decline with age either. In fact, older men are more likely to enjoy sex more, according to a 2006 study conducted by the British Journal of Urology International. The study found that men in their 50s enjoy sex more than men in their 30s and 40s.

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5. Seek Excitement and Surprise One Another

Staving off boredom in marriage is an important part of maintaining a happy relationship. Boredom in a marriage can undermine marital satisfaction, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science in March of 2009.

Maintain excitement in your marriage by going on dates, surprising one another frequently, and looking for new activities to do together as a couple. Keeping the relationship fresh and exciting can increase your chance of long-term success.

6. Resolve Conflict with Teamwork

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The words couples use when they disagree can make a big difference in their marital satisfaction. Couples with a happy marriage tend to use the words like “us,” “we,” or “our,” according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.

Couples who used language that showed a desire to work as a team experienced less stress during arguments. They showed more affection and had less negative behaviors overall. Happy couples resolve conflict by using teamwork.

7. Say Thank You

Saying thank you to your spouse is really a small thing to do that can have a big impact on your marriage, according to researchers from Arizona State University. Their 2007 study revealed that when people thanked their partner for completing chores, it led to less resentment over a perceived imbalance in household duties. Showing appreciation for one another’s contribution to the family can be an easy way to maintain a happy marriage.

8. Kiss Good-Bye in the Morning

Kissing good-bye in the mornings can start your day off with a more positive attitude. German physicians and psychologists found that men who kissed their spouses good-bye before heading off for work each morning live an average of five years longer and earn 20 to 30 percent more money  than other men.

Men who kissed their wives before leaving even had a lower chance of getting into a car accident on their way to work. Couples in a happy marriage don’t overlook the small things, like a quick kiss before parting, because they feel the positive benefits.

More by this author

Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do 10 Surprising Benefits Of Having A Dog You Didn’t Know About 15 Things To Remember If You Want To Be Successful

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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