Please check out these three relationship tips that I was asked to provide for Redbook’s Shine! from Yahoo blog. These are the tips I would share if I had just a couple of minutes in an elevator with you and your spouse, and you asked me for simple, yet meaningful, advice you could take to your marriage today.
For more detailed advice, check out the archives, as I’ve written extensively about each of these topics. If you haven’t yet subscribed to automatic blog posts, take a second to do that (on the right column). Or consider sharing the blog with a friend whose marriage you want to encourage. I generally send three research-based marriage tips a week, and you can opt out at any time. I hear from readers all over the world how simple tweaks can benefit their relationships and family life.
The always helpful Michele Weiner-Davis writes about Why You Haven’t Seen Change in Your Marriage (and what you can do to fix it). She is spot on.
The Generous Husband explains how one person’s changing the way you talk or argue can make a big difference down the line. Most of us are waiting for our partners to change. You don’t “lose” if you are the one to change; you both win.
Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com.
My recent post on The No-Talking Way to a Better Marriage provided reasons why men react with extreme stress responses when women want to share feelings and discuss relationship problems.
The natural next step is to find out what strategies may be more effective for wives to address concerns or problems. Co-author Patricia Love suggests:
- Use nonverbal communication to connect and bond—Use touch (see article and research about the importance of touch), shared activities (games, sports, talking a walk), or sex to bond you as a couple. When you are bonded, women need to talk less, and men want to share more, so you reach a happy middle-ground. When you are closely bonded, it’s easier to communicate lovingly.
- Convey compassion—Love says she has learned that compassion is more critical to relational success than love. We convey compassion by learning to empathize with the other person’s emotions, even when we can’t relate to them. Put yourself in your partner’s role. See her fears. See his doubt or shame. Allow yourself to feel compassion for your spouse, rather than to focus solely on your own unmet needs. We may need to re-train our brains to mentally trade places, especially during a conflict.
- Develop a hand signal that conveys the love and importance you feel for one another. Use it when you are feeling those emotions, and also keep it handy for when you are having discussions that may turn ugly. If one of you uses this hand signal, it can help prevent arguments from getting out of hand by reminding each of you of the relationships’ priority.
- Use positive reinforcement instead of complaining. For example, say, “I really appreciate when you put your laundry away” instead of “Why do you let your laundry sit out for days? It drives me nuts.” It will just come out sweeter, and your honey will be more likely to comply and to remember next time how much it pleases you.
Here’s a longer article about the book if you’re interested.
Do you find any of these strategies helpful? I think bonding and positive reinforcement are particularly effective, and compassion can motivate us to love differently. Thumbs up or down on the hand signals?
Posted in Books, Communication, Divorce, Family, Love, Marriage, Marriage Research, Personal Growth, Relationships, Uncategorized
Tagged better marriage, bonding, communication research, compassion, Family, hand signals, improve marriage, Love, love signal, Marriage, no-talking way to boost marriage, nonverbal communication, positive reinforcement, spouse, talking, talking about feelings, touch, touch in marriage