You’ve heard the sayings: relationships aren’t easy and marriage is a work in progress. Many are quick to warn about the trials a romance can face once the honeymoon phase comes to an end. But with a little mindfulness, couples can use these tiny (scientifically proven) tricks to maintain—and even enhance—their bond.
Long day at the office? It’s not quite good enough to simply be your partner’s sounding board, according to research from the University of California Santa Barbara. Because feeling understood, validated, and cared for by someone else is thought to improve relationships and well-being, those who actually care that their partner is stressed provide more support.
Couples who do the deed at least once a week report the greatest relationship satisfaction, according to a recent study. The catch? Don’t force it. Even though couples who have sex less than once a week report being less satisfied with their relationship, the findings don’t clarify whether having more sex makes partners happier or if happier couples simply tend to have more sex.
Marriage counselors increasingly suggest that formal check-ins could strengthen the bond between partners. Weekly meetings—one to talk about household responsibilities and another dedicated to more intimate issues—may help both partners feel more validated, respected, and comfortable.
Why? Pphubbing (partner phone snubbing), a term used to describe distraction (keeping his/her cell phone within eyesight or in hand, glancing at his/her cell phone when carrying on a conversation, and checking notifications during a lull in the conversation) caused by a phone while in the company of a romantic partner, can have negative implications on a relationship. In fact, only 32 percent of respondents who were on the receiving end of pphubbing behaviors said they were very satisfied with their relationship.
A racy text message every once in a while may be good for couples. Those in casual or committed relationships reported that sexting increased levels of sexual satisfaction, according to research from Drexel University.
This is classic advice—but for good reason. Husbands and wives were 3.5 and 3.6 times more likely, respectively, to report being “very happy” in their marriage when they spent “couple time,” like date night, according to a 2012 survey from the National Marriage Project.
When your partner makes a grand gesture, gratitude is obviously in order. But what about the more mundane, like washing the dishes or paying the bills? According to a study from the University of Georgia, giving thanks is a key ingredient to improving marriage.
Go ahead and take a page out of your favorite romantic comedy. Couples who believe in love at first sight, soul mates, and the idea that love never fades were more likely to report greater relationship satisfaction and commitment, according a recent study.