10 Things You Can Learn From Marriage Studies

young couple getting married

How to apply marriage research to your life.

From Woman's Day.

While you can glean advice from studies about relationships, it’s not one-size-fits-all, says Sherry Amatenstein, a marriage therapist and author of The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship-Saving Advice from America's Top 50+ Couples Therapists. However, if a bit of research resonates with you, there are commonsense ways you can apply the message.

1. Rocky recession. According to a new survey conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the current recession is having a double-edged impact on American marriages. On the one hand, couples who are under financial stress report that it’s hurt their marriages. For others, being worried about jobs, money and mortgages has fostered a stronger marital commitment.

The Lesson: "I've seen couples who've gone both ways during times of economic stress," says Amatenstein. When times get tough, "try to remember that you're in this together." The outside world is your shared adversary and something that you can face as a team.

2. Chit chat. A University of Chicago study revealed that some of us are so inept at talking (and listening!) to our spouses that we may as well be speaking to a perfect stranger. The researchers suggest that everyday closeness may breed complacency; we think we understand each other, when in fact we get lazy at crafting our messages to each other and at really listening to our spouses.

The Lesson: It's more important to understand than to be understood, says Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting. "Try to improve communication by repeating back the gist of what your partner is saying in an effort to indicate that you 'got it.' That instills understanding and empathy."

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