10 Marriage Sweeteners

Harry T. Reis, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, has identified 10 ways couples can show ‘compassionate’ love to improve a relationship

  1. Put your partner’s goals first. Giving your husband the last cupcake is easy. Spending your vacation—again—with his family is hard.
  2. Try to understand your partner’s thoughts and feelings. Not sure what’s going on? Ask.
  3. Accept, don’t judge. Don’t like your spouse’s relatives, or his taste in clothes or TV shows? Zip it. 
  4. Be open to your partner’s requests. Everyone is busy. If your spouse asks for something, assume it’s important.
  5. Modify your plans for your spouse’s sake. Does she need a night off from parenting, or a few hours to finish a work project? Accommodate and earn relationship goodwill.
  6. Do something special for your partner. Flowers are nice, but so is making the bed or giving a massage.
  7. Express tenderness and caring. Not everyone likes public displays of affection. But you can make a nice cup of tea.
  8. Go out of your way to ‘be there.’ Pay attention when your partner seems particularly stressed and try to help.
  9. Show respect and admiration. Celebrate successes, even little ones. Did your spouse handle a touchy situation well, or make you laugh? Point it out.
  10. Show you value your partner. Two words: Thank you.