15 Feb Relationships and happiness…one gesture at a time
What makes couples happy? What makes marriages last? It’s the small stuff, it turns out: Telling him he looks great in his jeans. Bringing her coffee in bed in the morning. Sneaking off without the kids from time to time. Taking turns doing the laundry.
Terri Orbuch, a Michigan-based research professor and marriage- and-family therapist, spent more than 22 years charting the love lives of 373 married couples in the U.S. government-funded Early Years of Marriage Project, the longest-running study of marriage conducted in North America.
The secrets of happy couples, Orbuch and her team of researchers found, were surprisingly simple.
“Really great marriages are not the result of long hours of hard work, but of everyday behaviours and attitudes, seemingly small gestures that show your spouse that he or she is noticed, appreciated, respected, loved and desired,” Orbuch writes in her just-published book 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great (Delacorte Press), which is based on the study’s findings.
When couples in solid relationships run into trouble, or experience “the blahs,” they often focus on what’s wrong, as do many self-help books and marriage counsellors, Orbuch said in a telephone interview this week. But she found focusing on their strengths and taking a few minutes every day “to fix the little things” had a greater impact on happiness.
“It’s not those big challenges that couples experience that eat away at happiness so much as the seemingly minor issues that accumulate over the years,” Orbuch said. “We’re so busy with work and family and exercise and shovelling snow and doing the groceries that people too often put their relationships on the backburner.” Here are a few of the secrets Orbuch gleaned from happy couples for making a good marriage great…
Read more about happiness in marriage: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/happy+marriage+gesture+time/2562696/story.html#ixzz0fa29vmtK