Back to top

Tips of the Month for Couples are regular tips for building strong relationships and healthy families. If you would like to sign up to receive these monthly tips, scroll to the bottom of the page and leave your email address.

Surviving Shelter-in-Place with your Partner

Uncouplings surged during the month of March in China as partners, coming out of their nation’s coronavirus lockdown, filed for divorce in record numbers. “If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the opposite might be true of too much time spent together in close quarters.”i

How to Respond to a Partner’s Venting

Sometimes, we just need to vent. We need to blow off steam and get something off our chest. My supervisor drives me crazy! I could just strangle Aunt Louise! The way our kids were arguing in the car, I wanted to pull over and abandon them right there! When we’re filled with emotion following a challenging experience, conversation isn’t necessarily what we’re looking for. A partner’s advice or help doesn’t usually fit the bill. It’s compassion, empathy and a non-reactive…

How to Start Tough Conversations

When you fly, do you pay close attention to the aircraft’s take-off? Maybe not. But don’t neglect your take-off when approaching your partner with a grievance or complaint. Marriage researcher John Gottman calls it your start-up.

How to Sustain Erotic Desire

Can we ever truly desire what we already have?1 That's the conundrum at the heart of long-term relationships: how to sustain erotic desire when, over time, the mystery and novelty that stimulates sexual interest inevitably wanes. It's a question that has baffled academics, sex therapists, and ordinary folk trying to keep the spark alive.

Do You Know Your Partner’s Triggers?

You know your partner’s age, phone number, maybe social security number. But do you know her triggers? 

Ask for What You Need

There were times in our young lives when we asked for things — and sometimes we were turned down. “You’re not old enough.” “You’ve had plenty already.” “I’m too tired to get it for you.” “Don’t be greedy.” It was disappointing, perhaps hurtful, when our requests were denied. Enough of those moments and some of us grew reluctant to ask. 

Attention Is the Most Basic Expression of Love

"Attention is a resource: a person has only so much of it… What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource?"1 And what if we better aimed this resource toward the person we say is most important in our lives? What if we made it a practice to prioritize our partner as the most important recipient of our attention? Attention is the most basic expression of love.

What's Behind the Bickering?

Couples researcher John Gottman, Ph.D., was asked in an interview what the number one issue is that couples fight about. His answer? Nothing. Couples, he said, fight about nothing. Listen to the 1-minute interview above and hear it for yourself.