Apparently couples spell happiness r-e-v-i-e-w. An interesting study led by Eli Finkel, head of the social psychology department at Northwestern University, shows that couples who review their relationship three times a year enjoy happier marriages.
For two years, 120 couples participated in this study. Half of the couples reviewed or reappraised their relationships in writing three times each year, every four months, for a mere 21-minute annual total. The others did business as usual.
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Finkel found that the three written reports prevented couples from declining happiness and slumping marital satisfaction. "I don't want it to sound like magic but you can get pretty impressive results with minimal intervention," said Mr. Finkel, lead author of the study.
Working with couples around the country, we have found similar, positive results with couples who identify their Money Personalities™ and review money matters in a monthly Money Huddle.™ A couple's Money Huddle is an intentional time to reconnect, encourage trust, work together and dream about the future. It is not a time to organize receipts or balance the books. The monthly Money Huddle is an opportunity to r-e-v-i-e-w the emotional component of your relationship.
Do you feel heard when it comes to money issues in your relationship? Are your money needs being met? What are your dreams as a couple for the future and how can you start to make them happen? Discuss, r-e-v-i-e-w and soak up the happiness. When disagreements about money arise during the day, table them until your Money Huddle when you are both more apt to listen and compromise.
Finkel's study participants did not avoid fighting for those two years — remember he said it wasn't a miracle — but the study found that "the couples who did the writing exercise three times a year recovered more quickly from arguments." Apparently connecting between fights, paves the way for a speedy recovery when we do fight. Professor Finkel goes on to say, "Having a high-quality marriage is one of the strongest predictors of happiness and health."
Differing Money Personalities have the potential for conflict in a relationship, but they can also create balance and health. This study reminds us that the time commitment does not have to be tremendous to see positive results in our relationships. We can develop new patterns of communication and concise times of review in our relationships and spell h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.
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Scott & Bethany Palmer
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