Monday, October 10, 2011

The 30 Secrets of Happily Married Couples

It's book reflection / summary time again. This one's the 2nd edition of Paul Coleman's book.

What's good from the very beginning of this "updated version" is that the author listed down some old myths included in the previous editions which now have been found to be "false". Here are some of these myths:

Old Myth: Shutting down and running away from an argument is never helpful.
New Finding: If agitation is high, a strategic timeout from an argument is essential - as long as the discussion continues when participants are calmer.

Old Myth: Happy couples show much more positive emotions when they interact (humour, affection, agreement and so on) than do unhappy couples.
New Finding: In a study of newlyweds, couples who later divorced or felt miserable together showed only thirty seconds per day less positive emotions than their happier counterparts. But the happier couples used those extra thirty seconds like a precision laser beam in the service of de-escalating conflict.

Old Myth: Couples who avoid conflict are suppressing their real feelings and building resentments.
New Finding: Couples who try to avoid arguments at all costs can actually be very happy together. However, if a conflict-avoider is paired with someone who is emotionally volatile, unhappiness will result.

Old Myth: If you cannot resolve your differences you are doing something wrong and the relationship is at risk for failure.
New Finding:  Every couple have several permanently irresolvable differences because of personality styles and values. Happy couples learn to manage those differences, not eradicate them.

Old Myth: Major differences in personality account for why some couples are unhappy together.
New Finding: Personality differences do not predict marital success or failure. It is each partner's perception and interpretation of those personality traits that make the most difference.

Old Myth: It is important to make "I" statements, not "You" statements, when communicating ("I felt hurt when you teased me in front of your friends" as opposed to "You were wrong to tease me in front of your friends")
New Finding: "I" statements are unnatural and hard to under stress. Happy couples find other ways to communicate effectively.

Some of these new findings are not new to me. It got me, do these findings apply to all couples in general? I wanted to find out more. Who wouldn't want to have a happy marriage, right? 

I believe we don't need to wait until we have an unhappy marriage to start reading or getting tips on how to have a happy marriage. I believe if we want to have a happy marriage we will make an effort to know more about how to achieve it. It's not the cure to unhappy marriage we want, but supplements to keep the fire burning.

Happiness Test - gives some idea of where your relationship stands when it comes to achieving happiness. Choose the answer that seems closest to how you feel - Mostly True, Sometimes True, Mostly False
  1. When we're apart I think fondly about my partner.
  2. Arguments with my partner tend to escalate with no satisfying resolution.
  3. I admire my partner.
  4. At least one of us has a problem with addiction(s) - alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography
  5. If my partner says or does something I don't like, I don't view him or her as having a serious flaw.
  6. My partner frequently says or does mean or hurtful things.
  7. We have at least twenty minutes a day of quality "couple time".
  8. Much of the time, things have to go my partner's way.
  9. Each of us can admit it when we're wrong.
  10. I'm dissatisfied with our sexual relationship.
  11. We show affection regularly.
  12. I fantasize about leaving my partner for someone else.
Once you're done answering, please leave a message/comment so I can post how the marking goes and what it says about your marital happiness. 

On with the summary. 

Part One 
  • 15 POSITIVE steps couples should take to increase marital quality
  • lists the key actions and attitudes that couples need to do more of to improve marital joy
Secret #1: Tap into the hurricane-force power of small talk
Secret #2: Give the benefit of the doubt
Secret #3: Magical attentiveness
Secret #4: Nurture one another, and be good friends
Secret #5: Yield often to your partner's wishes
Secret #6: Encourage each other's dreams
Secret #7: Recognize your role in a problem
Secret #8: Love it up with sex and affection
Secret #9: Take time for yourself
Secret #10: Be positively optimistic
Secret #11: Supersize your intimacy
Secret #12: Have creative ("wow") sex
Secret #13: Find a sacred purpose to your marriage
Secret #14: Boost commitment
Secret #15: Get a healthy perspective on your family of origin

Part Two
  • 15 NEGATIVE behaviors and attitudes that must be reduced
Secret #16: Stop judging (and start accepting)
Secret #17: Reduce your need to be right
Secret #18: Don't expect miracles overnight
Secret #19: Be less accommodating of hurtful behaviors
Secret #20: Stop arguing about problems that will never go completely away
Secret #21: Uncover and reduce hidden agendas
Secret #22: Don't allow arguments to escalate
Secret #23: Decrease your inner agitation
Secret #24: Keep it between the two of you
Secret #25: Don't tempt fate with opposite-sex friendships
Secret #26: Abandon resentment, and forgive
Secret #27: Don't keep bringing up the past
Secret #28: Reduce conversation killers
Secret #29: Eliminate double standards
Secret #30: Get rid of these sexual myths

Are you ready for what may be a life-changing step towards marital bliss??? I know I am....

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