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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.

A Simple Way to De-escalate Couple Conflicts

You probably never thought about lowering your voice during an argument. You probably never heard about the power of reducing your volume when tempers flare and emotions spill over. Here's what you need to know:

Maintaining Balance in Your Relationship

Every marriage has an invisible emotional bank account. We make deposits into the account through acts of kindness, words of admiration, gestures of support, and more. We make withdrawals from the account by moments of unkindness, harsh or unfair criticism, words or actions that trigger hurt feelings, and more.

Asking for What You Need and Want

It's a widespread complaint of women: men don't know how to listen without rushing in to give advice and offer a solution. "I'm not looking for advice," many women say, "I just want to be heard, to get something off my chest." Through some mysterious blend of nature and nurture, guys just want to find a fix. Women: try a prompt. "Sweetheart, there's something I want to talk to you about and what I'd like from you is to just listen, with empathy. Don't offer advice, don't…

The Often-Overlooked Importance of Physical Intimacy

Would it surprise you to know that there are health benefits of holding hands with your partner as you walk down the street, or embracing when you return home at the end of the day? Or setting your hand atop his thigh or behind his neck when you're the passenger next to him in the car? Do you know it can foster overall wellness — for both of you — to approach unexpectedly when she's sipping morning coffee at the kitchen table and your hands settle on her shoulders or your…

Make Asking "How Was Your Day?" a Daily Ritual

Is there a more banal question than How was your day? When asked, we often treat it as a throw-away and reply with a quick and mindless "fine" or "okay," our eyes never leaving the computer or the television screen. We rarely expect it to be the start of a conversation. Research, however, suggests that we’d be wise to take the question seriously, and maybe even embrace it as a daily ritual. A study of couples conducted at the University of Utah1 found that both partners…

Poor Sleep Is Bad for Both Your Health and Your Relationship

We know that hunger can leave us susceptible to poorly-handled arguments with a partner. So, too, can insufficient sleep. Researchers have found that following nights of poor sleep (less than 7 hours), couples experience more conflict and more difficulty resolving conflict amicably. Sleep deprived partners may have a harder time bringing patience, humor and kindness to those heated moments that every couple faces, as compared to better rested partners.

Love and Hate Are Not Opposites

It happens in every intimate relationship, a moment when frustration or upset or disdain grows so large that the thought crosses the mind: I hate him / I hate her. Love and hate - they aren't opposites, and it's not a zero sum game where the more of one means the less of the other. Both feelings can stir, as they inevitably do.

The Power of Inside Jokes

Particularly powerful are inside jokes —​​​​​​​ our shared funny takes on friends and family, our memorable and laughably embarrassing moments, our private vocabulary and expressions that always bring a smile to our faces. Inside jokes can lighten the moment as the relationship slides into darker territory. Self-effacing humor can be especially effective as a substitute for the defensiveness that erupts so quickly and easily during arguments.