Staying Connected to Your Spouse

Tips on maintaining a happy and healthy marriage

photo by africa studio – fotolia

John Buri has been a psychology professor at the University of St. Thomas for four decades and his Psychology of Marriage and Family class is a student favorite. Buri shares some of his time-honored advice on staying connected to your sweetie.

• Pay attention to your love bank, which is made up of the dozens of interactions a couple has every day, through words, eye contact, and body language. “Every time a couple has a positive exchange, it’s a deposit into the love bank,” Buri says. Research suggests that couples with a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions have happy relationships.

• Relationships always benefit when we consider how our partner wants to be loved. “For a lot of women, it’s important that the man in her life learns to be warm and affectionate,” Buri says. “Men need to learn to do this in a way she responds to—without expecting anything in return.”

• It helps to keep criticism to a minimum. Buri says that couples should find time to talk honestly each week about issues in their lives individually and together—this helps blunt the impulse to criticize during everyday interactions.

• It’s also important to learn to communicate—even when it’s difficult. Buri says that it’s crucial not to avoid tough conversations, whether they’re about a lousy day at the office,
or a difference of perspective on major life decisions. Such openness allows a couple to better understand how they can support each other.

• Keep pursuing the love of your life. “What if every day we tried to show how much we love our significant other?” Buri asks. “Just imagine how our relationships and marriages would change if we did that.”