The Key to Marital Happiness – According to Research

Everyone seems to have an opinion of what is the “key to marital happiness”.  But there is now a growing body of research that supports one specific “key”.

In her online Time Magazine article yesterday entitled, “Here Is The Secret to Marriage Happiness”, Francine Russo wrote about a recent study done by the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University.  Over a 13-year period, researchers videotaped 80 couples on several occasions, while they were discussing a topic of conflict.  One of the study’s main findings was that couples in which the WIFE calmed down quickly  —  and calmed down FIRST  —  tended to be happy together, both in the short-term as well as the long-term.

Some women may think that this study could be letting husbands off the hook, in terms of taking responsibility for resolving conflicts with their wives.  And yet, according to University of California, Los Angeles researcher, Thomas Bradbury, there is a significant amount of other research that supports the idea that “women are more sensitive to issues in relationships and tend to navigate conflict better.”  Another researcher, Ashley Randall of Arizona State University concurs, stating, “In my research on how men and women cooperate, women lead the way.  Men tended to follow the women’s emotion.”

The fact is, men and women ARE biologically and hormonally different in some very significant ways  — and those differences can translate to different strengths for each gender.  Many studies show that one strength of women is the ability to more quickly notice emotions (both their own and others’), which therefore gives them the ability to more quickly address and resolve those emotions.

When we women accept this ability to navigate through emotions better and more quickly than men (in general), then we can own our power to promote peace and compassion in our relationships with men.

In their book, “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”, Patricia Love, Ed.D, and Steven Stosny, Ph.D, suggest three questions we can answer for ourselves, in order to start  strengthening our relationships with our spouse or partner.  These questions are:

1.  “What is the most important thing about you as a person?”

Although there can be many answers to this question, choose the ONE thing that makes you who you are synthroid generic.  In other words, without this particular quality, you would be a different person.  A helpful hint is, “What is the ONE thing that I would want people to remember about me when I am gone?”

2.  “What is the most important thing about you as a partner?”

In other words, what is the ONE thing about you that makes you such a wonderful spouse or partner?

3.  “What is the most important thing about your life in general?”

In other words, what gives your life meaning and purpose?  What is it that you live for?

Of course, BOTH men and women can benefit from answering the above questions, because the answers we give to these questions reveal to us what our CORE VALUES are.  The more we live according to our own core values, the more we stay true to ourselves.  And when we are true to ourselves, we consistently make the life choices that lead us to happier and more fulfilling relationships.

There may be times in your life when you are having a hard time finding happiness in your marriage or relationship.  Those are the times when it may be good to work with a licensed family counselor, who can help you figure out how you can find that happiness.

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