There’s an interesting study in the October issue of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers have “discovered” what makes people happily married. It’s when the number of positive experiences with their spouse is roughly three times the number of negative encounters in day-to-day life.
This statistic confirms common sense. But it sheds little light on what makes a positive encounter. It doesn’t tell what we can do to increase the number of positive interactions with a romantic partner. But I can.
My research on emotional well-being has shown that to be satisfied with a romantic relationship we need to regularly have interactions that provide the following three things:
Affirmation feedback we get from our partner that tells uswe are adequate, competent, acceptable, desirable and loveable human beings.
Companionship sharing some experience we both enjoy.
Intimacy sharing aspects of ourselves that could result in ridicule, rejection or embarrassment, and our partner continues to affirm us.
This clearly shows you the steps to take to become a more attractive partner. First, make an effort to affirm your partner several times a day. Give a kiss. Say what you find attractive about your partner. Mention what a nice job he or she is doing with everyday activities like cooking, shopping, housekeeping, washing the car or paying bills. Thank your partner for going to work each day and bringing home the money that helps keep you happy.
You can increase companionship by spending more time with your partner. Share a meal. Sit in the same room when reading or watching television. Go along on the next trip to the grocery or the hardware store. Suggest dinner and a movie, a play, a museum or a sporting event.
Get more intimacy with unexpected sex. Tell your partner what you like him or her to do when you are making love. Ask your partner how you could provide more pleasure.
Do all these things, and you’ll be able to say you are happily married.
[Ed. Note: Dr. Douglas Ramm is a psychologist, philosopher, author and leading researcher in the field of emotional well-being, contentment and life satisfaction. He has appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows where he shares insights for enhancing quality of life. Discover how to enhance yours .]
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