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Just 21 minutes for better relationships

by Margery Gass | Aug 20, 2013
Is it inevitable that your marriage will take a downhill slide? What sociologists call “marital quality” often declines over time, but researchers found a way to stop the slipping and it takes only 21 minutes. The heterosexual couples in this study had been married for an average of 11 years. Each wife and husband was asked to write for 7 minutes about a recent conflict in the relationship, but they had to write about it from the perspective of a neutral observer. Then, the researchers used email reminders to have the couple do this two more times for other disagreements. That’s all it took to eliminate the decline in the quality of the couple’s relationship. A very handy, inexpensive technique.

The takeaway? To best handle conflict, step outside yourself and look at your disagreement with another person as if you were an observer with no vested interest. This advice will likely improve any type of relationship, not just marriage. Here’s to happy relationships!

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