The Gottman Institute did a study that shows that many marriages end due to a loss of intimacy and connection, especially 10 to 12 years into the relationship. Well, that’s not surprising.
But what’s interesting is that a “silent drift apart” typically starts much earlier.
What do you think when you see a senior couple walking and holding hands? I think about love, connection, that invisible force that’s still holding them together. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to have that too, even when my wife and I are sitting in our rocking chairs together.
In this post, we’re going to talk about an often overlooked kind of physical affection. Many couples have almost dropped it out of their repertoire even though it’s one of the easiest ways to increase intimacy and help you feel safe, accepted, and appreciated.
The facial muscles that make you smile when you laugh are coincidentally (or not!) neighboring the very part of the brain that is also responsible for the production of serotonin.
Serotonin controls sleep, memory, learning, temperature and—you guessed it—mood and behavior.
Here comes a simple truth.
If you’re rolling your eyes at your partner, and you do that regularly, we already know you’re going to divorce. What?!?
Dr. John Gottman and University of California, Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson found that this single behavior is so powerful that they can use it—along with other negative behaviors such as repetitive criticism, sarcasm, and stonewalling—to predict divorce with 93% accuracy.
I was a really bad listener for a very long time, and truth be told, so was my wife. We sucked at just listening. We often became irritated, or even angry at each other before we got a chance to get to the point.
Looking back, I realize there was a simple, yet not immediately obvious, reason.
When you’re in love with someone you’re going to organize your schedule to make them a priority. Then you get married and you kind of get accustomed to having each other around.
Gradually, everything else seems more important, and the relationship drifts to the bottom. Then one or the other partner (or both!) get dissatisfied, and they start looking for excitement and adventure elsewhere.
You might remember the Lieutenant Columbo TV series, with Columbo played by Peter Falk? For the uninitiated, Lt. Columbo was that trenchcoat-wearing, cigar-smoking television detective of the Los Angeles Police Homicide Bureau. The show ran off and on from 1971 to 2003.
Columbo was an exceptionally successful detective. He used his humble ways and ingenuous demeanor to put people at ease, allowing them to open up and tell him things they otherwise wouldn’t. Here’s how this relates to your conversations with your spouse.
Have you ever listened to the instructions that airlines give you just before the airplane takes off? That is, to put on your own oxygen mask first before putting them on your kids.
Why would the airline want you do that? Isn’t your duty as a parent to take care of your kids first? Actually, no. The reason is simple. Should you become faint from lack of oxygen, you won’t be much good to your kids at all! Many couples fail to see the same logic when it comes to their own relationship.
Imagine you meet a friend from your youth whom you’ve lost touch with. It’s been years since you saw each other. Sure, it’s a nice surprise and you’re both pleased to meet.
But it feels a bit awkward, after so much time. It’s not the same anymore. There’s little to say aside from the usual “Do you have any kids?” or “Where do you work?”
The same thing happens to so many married couples. One day, they wake up and realize that the person lying next to them is a complete stranger.
A romantic relationships study by the Huffington Post and Reader’s Digest (“The Normal Bar,” 2011) looked at more than 100,000 people. It found that boredom was the leading reason couples gave for infidelity.
A full 71 percent of men and 49 percent of women who had affairs said they did so because they were bored. Boredom also leads spouses to try to escape dreary marriages in other dangerous ways, such as excessive drinking of alcohol, overeating, and pursuing hobbies outside the home (at the expense of family), to name just a few.
So, what can you do to avoid boredom in marriage?