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TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Roughly 40% to 50% of married couples ultimately split up, according to the American Psychological Association. But Northwestern University professor Eli Finkel says the best marriages are actually better than ever.
How do you keep your marriage from going from blissful to bust? The psychologist, who has extensively examined the history of marriage, offers three tips in his book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage.
Tip One: Become a love hacker. All relationships require time and effort to keep the fire alive. But chances are that your kids, workplace demands or other responsibilities slow the sizzle every now and then. Boost your bliss with love hacks -- quick and simple practices that show you care. Here are some easy ones to try:
- Show appreciation.
- Say thank you more often.
- When your spouse tells you good news,celebrate his or her joy and respond with a question or two.
- Touch more often: Hold hands during a TV show, for example. This boosts trust and security.
Tip Two: Take the time to really talk to each other. Love hacks are great, but open, deep communication is the key -- and talk about something other than the kids and the weather. Here's an idea: Go to the movies and see a romantic comedy. One study showed that couples who watched and discussed relationship movies monthly cut their divorce rate in half within three years.
Tip Three: Lower your expectations. Yes, it's true. One of the best things you can sometimes do for your marriage is to ask less of it. Finkel says people who marry today expect their spouses to be their best friend, lover, confidant and co-parent all rolled into one -- a stark change from the simple unions our parents or grandparents had.
Realize that there will be times you can't get everything you think you need from your partner. Recalibrate those needs during chaotic times, for example when a baby is born or a family member passes away, and you may decrease the risk for marital disappointment.
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