7. Open your ears. The single most powerful step you can take to keep a marriage solid? Speak less and listen more. Blame, insults, criticism and bullying predict a bad end, or at least a living hell. When talk turns combative, don't interrupt, offer a solution or defend yourself too soon. When feelings are at issue, they need to be heard. So nod, rephrase or provide a soft "um-hum" to show you honor the emotions behind the words. Sometimes, all we really need to do to feel closer to someone is pay closer attention to what it is that they're saying.
By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria, Ph.D., Adapted from The 7 Stages of Marriage
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