Research shows that it is extremely important that children see a loving, fun and connected relationship between their parents.
Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. is one of America’s leading experts on love. She recently discussed how today’s couples can preserve and enhance their marriage at a recent ParentEd Talk sponsored by Chicago Parent as part of a series of talks with parenting experts.
“Preserving that connection is one of the best gifts you can get your kids,” says Schwartz, who offers the common relationship elements that most happy couples have in common:
Excellent communication skills
Couples who have excellent communication listen well. They do not interrupt their spouse and they show they are listening by asking questions. Additionally, at the end of a conversation, each person should feel heard and understood.
Ability to ‘get over it’
Happy couples have the ability to get over bad times and forgive each other. They also accept things about their significant other that they may not like, but choose to love them anyway.
Ability to differentiate
Research shows that we like to replicate ourselves. However, our spouses are different people than us, and we need to understand that to grow as a couple and as individuals.
Know how to give love
People give and receive love in different ways. Schwartz suggests learning your spouse’s love language.
Never lose the need for romance
The romance shouldn’t be down to Valentine’s Day and birthdays, Schwartz says. “It is important to be romantic from time to time, and not be prompted by a holiday. “The happiest couples keep feelings of excitement and mystery associated with the early relationship alive.” Schwartz suggests planning date nights, romantic vacations and gift giving.
Reinvention of themselves
For the length of our lives, we need adventure and novelty. Schwartz says any couple on “auto pilot” throughout the relationship duration will suffer. Couples who progress and are happier will do new and exciting things together.
Being equitable at home
People have to feel they are in a fair relationship. Doing your share of executive functions and household tasks will go a long way with your partner. “Whatever it is that people don’t want to do in their household, they have to feel they are splitting that equally with their partners,” Schwartz says.
Physical needs should not go away
“Kids can be a great buzz killer, but reject the idea that kids and interruptions can get in the way,” Schwartz says. She notes that our physical needs do not — and should not — go away. Data shows that partners with a good sexual relationship have a better overall relationship. She offers behaviors that might keep sexual passion alive including sleeping nude, role playing, using sex toys and discussing preferences and techniques with your partner. “While it’s easy to let sex and romance go, it’s important to keep these aspects of the relationship alive.”
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