Marriage Dos and Don’ts for a Closer Connection

By Tara Parker-Pope, adapted from For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage (Dutton)

1. Toast Success. Good news can be as challenging as problems, say researchers. How do you react to your partner’s success: a smile and a pat? Try champagne and chocolates.

2. Talk about sex. A recent study showed that many couples want each other to be more direct in the bedroom but are too shy to ask. Go ahead: Both of you write down five things you’d like your spouse to say or do during sex. Then compare your answers.

3. Fight Right. Sometimes the difference between a good fight and a bad one is in how it starts. Think of it this way: Gripes (“I wish we had sex more often”) are more welcome than snipes (“You never want to have sex”). Feel free to use that one.

-Published in Reader’s Digest, February 2011

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