Saturday, December 22, 2007

Six Ways Men Can Make Their Marriages Much Happier

Scott Haltzman, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, Providence, on how Married Men can improve their marriages:

1. Treat your wife like a business client. Many men say they don't know what's expected of them in romantic relationships -- yet the same men know what to do in business relationships. The two aren't as different as you might think. If a client made you unhappy, you wouldn't fight with him/her. Instead, you would try to smooth things out. if this client made a crucial error, you would not criticize him -- you would try to help him recover. Overall, you would try to understand who your client is, what his goals are and how you can help him succeed.

2. Forget the golden rule. When we treat our wives as we would like to be treated, we ignore the fact that our wives are quite different from us. Forget whatever you think you know about what makes people happy, and observe your wife for a while. What does she really appreciate? What are her deepest interests and goals? Stop doing things that you would appreciate if someone did them for you and start doing things she will appreciate.

3. Do more than say "I'm sorry."  According to research by the Gottman Institute, a Seattle-based couples therapy organization, marriage tend to be happy when the spouses -- wives as well as husbands -- interact with each other in a positive manner at least five times as often as they interact in a negative manner. Positive interactions might include paying her compliments, saying, "Thank you" or "I love you," offering to do something for her, holding her hand or paying attention to her.

4. Master the makeup. The happiness of your marriage is not determined by whether you fight -- all couples do. It's determined by how well you patch things up afterward. Wait until you cool down -- that typically takes about 20 minutes -- then make a peace offering. Bring her a cup of tea ...say you're sorry you argues ...or tell her that you love her. Such gestures generally help couples get past the fight fast and back to the happy marriage.

5. See your wife's opinion. Wives often feel that they don't have an equal voice in the decision-making. As far as most husbands are concerned, the issue isn't who is making the decisions, but whether the correct decisions are being made.

6. Do some cleaning. Most wives think their husbands should help more with housework. Many husbands think they do so much work around the yard and with the car that housework isn't their responsibility. To make your wife really happy, figure out which household task is her least favorite and do it without being asked.

Six Ways Men Can Make Their Marriages Much Happier
Scott Haltzman, MD
Brown University

Posted at 06:37 AM in Philosophy | Permalink


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