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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.

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Amy Morin

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

10 Practical Tips To Make Positive Thinking Your Habit 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

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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