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Active, Constructive, Marriage-Strengthening

Help yourself to happier feelings. Tell your spouse about the positive events in your life. Accomplish a goal? Receive an award or promotion? Lose weight? Tell your spouse. Researcher Shelly Gable has found this pays off in increased well-being and a better mood.

You can take it to the next level and get greater well-being plus a more satisfying and stable relationship. How? Through active and constructive responses from your spouse.

That's active, not passive. No lame "uh-huh." No unenthusiastic "that's nice, honey." We're looking for a bit of enthusiasm and attention here.

And it's got to be constructive, not destructive. Changing the subject is destructive. So is pointing out there is a downside to this victory. Constructive is asking how your mate got the good news, how she or he felt at that moment. Constructive is listing the reasons why the good outcome was well-deserved and pointing out all the good things likely to follow from it.

How can you get such responses? Ask for them. Give them when your spouse has good news. Pay attention to your spouse's mood before you decide to share your good news. And don't downplay your own pleasure in your accomplishment or blessing.

Comments

I love that you are emphasizing so much on communication between your spouse, and you. My husband and I have had a little bit of a falling out over the years, and it wasn't until I was reading this article that I realized we don't really talk anymore. We say the routine things like "how was your day", "how did you sleep", etc. I'm going to try and start telling my husband about all of the positive things happening in my life, and ask him about what is happening in his life. Hopefully that will help strengthen our relationship.

Thank you, Angela, and good luck to the two of you.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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