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One Easy Fix to Save Your Marriage

How we respond when our loved ones share good news matters just as much as when they share bad news. Learn the best response for a happy, healthy marriage.

| August 26th, 2011
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One Easy Fix to Save Your Marriage

Your partner sits down to dinner and bursts out, “I got promoted!” Your next words matter more than you think, and “That’s great, honey” won’t cut it.

Most of us make a big effort to be supportive and helpful when the you-know-what hits the fan, but research shows that the good times matter too. Shelly Gable and colleagues have shown that how you respond when your partner has a good day can increase love, commitment and intimacy, while decreasing your risk of divorce—all with a few simple words.

QUIZ: What's Your Relationship Style?

Here's the easy tweak that can save your marriage:

Let’s rewind to that moment when your partner announced the promotion. If you responded with, “That’s great! You really deserved it,” then you probably think your duty’s done. But that’s actually not the best response.

Enter a concept called “active constructive responding”—a simple technique for responding to your partners’ positive news that’s proven to improve your marriage.

An active-constructive response is understanding, validating and caring, and invites your partner to share details about the event, particularly how he or she felt about it. It communicates enthusiastic, engaged support and shows your willingness to share in your partner’s success.

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