Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Expert suggests tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your relationship

Date:
January 9, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
What are you doing to keep your relationship alive? A new study highlights the importance of five relationship maintenance strategies that couples can use to preserve or improve the quality of an intimate relationship.

What are you doing to keep your relationship alive? A University of Illinois study highlights the importance of five relationship maintenance strategies that couples can use to preserve or improve the quality of an intimate relationship.
Credit: Africa Studio / Fotolia

What are you doing to keep your relationship alive? A University of Illinois study highlights the importance of five relationship maintenance strategies that couples can use to preserve or improve the quality of an intimate relationship.

"Relationships are like cars in that you have do certain things to keep them running, especially when your goal is to strengthen and preserve your bond with your partner," said Brian Ogolsky, a U of I professor of human and community development.

To determine which factors are the most important in promoting healthy relationships, Ogolsky and colleague Jill R. Bowers conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies and 12,273 individual reports.

The research showed that openness, positivity, assurances, shared tasks, and a shared social network are strategies that couples can use to make their relationship better, he said.

To "open up" your relationship, the researchers encouraged not only talking about your feelings but getting your partner to talk about what she is feeling as well. Positivity entailed being a "fun" person and acting upbeat and cheerful as you interact with each other.

"It's also important to assure your partner that you're in the relationship for the long haul, to divide household chores and responsibilities equally, and to make an effort to include your partner's friends and family in some of your activities," Ogolsky said.

The study showed that a person who practices one of these five strategies is likely to practice the others as well. And a partner who notices that one of the strategies is being used is apt to be tuned in to their partner's efforts in the other four areas, he said.

"Persons who use any of these maintenance strategies will not only be more satisfied with and committed to their relationship, they are also likely to continue to love and, yes, even like each other throughout its duration," he said.

Although these strategies work, challenges may arise when couples don't see or value each other's efforts in the same way. These approaches had the most influence on the quality of the relationship when persons believed their partner was also performing relationship maintenance, he said.

The study suggests that what you do doesn't matter as much as whether the things you're doing are noticed by your partner. In other words, he said, relationship quality is not only at risk when couples don't employ these strategies, but also when one partner believes the other is not making an effort or doesn't recognize those efforts.

Sometimes a person's thoughts don't transfer into actions, he explained. "Say you've arrived home from work and your intention all day has been to buy some flowers for your partner and surprise her with dinner. Then you get wrapped up in a business phone call and your good intentions fall by the wayside. You may feel as if you've put considerable effort into your relationship, but your partner didn't see it so it does you no good."

The fact that couples get busy, become enmeshed in routines, and take each other for granted is all the more reason to consciously adopt these relationship strategies, he said.

"Even a small attempt at maintenance, such as asking how your partner's day was, sending a humorous text to make him laugh, or picking up the phone and calling your mother- or father-in-law, can have a positive impact on your relationship and make you happier," he added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. G. Ogolsky, J. R. Bowers. A meta-analytic review of relationship maintenance and its correlates. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/0265407512463338

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Expert suggests tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your relationship." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110059.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2013, January 9). Expert suggests tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your relationship. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110059.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Expert suggests tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your relationship." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110059.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins