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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Couples with rich love maps know about one another's moments of great challenge, distress, and victory, moments of blushed embarrassment and times when things went really well. These couples keep updating their love maps as lives shift and change, as new people, jobs, and challenges come into the picture.
Resisting the urge to tell linear, blaming stories frees us to tell more helpful circular stories that acknowledge it takes two to tango. Circular stories call up our best and most generous self, conveying: We're a team and we're in this together.
The title refers to a relatively recent cultural phenomenon: the interruptions and intrusions into our everyday lives by technology devices -- devices that are always on and always present. When it comes to our primary relationships, technoference seems an insidious problem...and one that's affecting more and more couples.
Women once sent love letters on scented stationery, hoping the fragrance would arouse the object of their affection. Those days are largely gone, but the wish to arouse a loved one still remains. Only the vehicles of communication have changed.