Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

couple-1719666_1920We hear a lot about couples who are not happy and end up divorcing, especially couples in the celebrity world. But there are many happy couples who have learned the secrets to a happy marriage. We all know romantic relationships can be challenging, also rewarding, sometimes confusing and even down right difficult at times.  When it comes to marital satisfaction and happiness, science can tell us a few things. Here are

Fight in person, not over text:  You get in a fight, but do it over text messaging. Not a good idea because couples who argue over text, apologize over text and attempt to make decisions over text, do not end up happy. An emoji just isn’t the same as your face. Nor is the personal contact of working through a disagreement. So if you want to build a happy relationship, face to face is best.

Socialize with couples who have happy marriages: A Brown University study found that if you are around a friend or relative that is divorced, you are 75% more likely to get divorced. The company you keep matters. Even your friends who divorce influence your thinking in terms of staying married. The take away here is find happy couples to be your friends and in your inner circle. Their commitment to stay together and work through problems will influence you to do the same. The more negative the couple is regarding their marriage, the more it rubs off on you!

Work through problems early on in marriage: Psychologist, Dr Herb Goldberg wants us to rethink our ideas about fighting. He says that at the beginning of marriage, we think things should go smoothly and problems should come later. However,  couples who have a rough beginning, but work things out are happier in the long run. So work through your problems early on in marriage. The more you commit to dealing with your differences and conflicts in a positive way, you can actually strengthen the relationship.

Do housework together: If you share chores at home, you tend to be happier. And you are even happier if you define responsibilities –know what to do and what is expected.  A study at UCLA says you tend to be happier with yourself and with your spouse if you sit down and work through the workload. The idea here is that you are working together on dividing the load and supporting each other.

Spend time in the bedroom:  Regular intimacy in the bedroom improves happiness. It’s that simple. And here is a fun fact from a study— upping your intimacy in the bedroom from once a month to once a week can cause happiness levels to jump by as much as if you made an extra $50,000 a year. So there you go! Give your spouse a pay raise! Sounds like an enjoyable way to make your marriage happy!

Keep the friendship going: The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study that concluded that marriage leads to increased levels of happiness People said they were twice as satisfied as others though when their spouse was their best friend. This is essential to a happy marriage. You have to have a build a foundation of friendship and keep that friendship going. And if you let the friendship wane because of busyness or stress, you will feel it later when the kids are gone. Or in the worst case, you might look for friendship somewhere else—that is one of the reasons people have affairs. They are looking for companionship and emotional support. So don’t ignore your spouse when it comes to maintaining friendship. Take time for date nights and sharing interests.

Share your faith: In 1999, David and Amy Olsen conducted a national survey with over 21,000 couples. In that survey, they included questions about spiritual life as it relates to couple relationships. They found that if you share a spiritual life with your spouse, it goes along with a happy marriage. Shared beliefs bring meaning and closeness to a couple, especially during difficult times. And faith helps you focus on the positives aspects of each other and respect each other. So share your faith as you do life together.

 

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