Couples Who Laugh Together, Last Together.

Published | Tags: , , ,


When my husband and I were engaged my mother hosted an engagement reception for us. People my parents had known for years showed up, ate food, wished us well, and left, in the way most receptions happen. On a table by the door were slips of paper for every guest to put a piece of marital advice for us and place it in a jar. Most of the advice written out were things I have heard my whole life:

“Don’t go to bed angry” “Communicate with each other” “Be physically affectionate” “Admit when you’re wrong.”

One piece of advice I wish had been written out was “laugh together every day.”

The physical benefits of laughter are well known – laughter can improve health, and lengthen life expectancy in terminally ill patients – but how does laughter aid relationships?

Neuroscientist Robert Provine studied just that, and published his findings in his book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.

What he found was that, beyond just diffusing tense situations and reducing anger and anxiety, laughter establishes (or restores) a positive emotional connection between ... Read more »

Playing the Love Game

Published | Tags: , , ,

If you were to do a Google search on “love is a game,” you would find a large number of quotes from authors, philosophers, musicians, and everyday people who have felt like love is just a game.

“Love is a losing game.”  

“Love is a game in which one always cheats.”

“Love is a game that two can play and both win.”

So is love really just a game?  How is it possible that some believe it is always a losing game while others believe two can win?  What strategies can we use to make sure we are winners?

According to a recent study by Mons Bendixen and Leif Kennair from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, there are two main strategies we often use to find love and attract potential partners.  What do these two strategies look like and do they both work?  If not, which one will make you a winner?

Competitor Derogation

Competitor derogation is the strategy of making others look less attractive than ourselves.  Name calling, spreading rumors, or pointing out a rivals more negative qualities are all examples of ... Read more »

Wedleasing Your Happiness

Published |

We all know the term “wedlock” refers to the binding legal, and often religious, commitment between two people until death do them part. The opposite of this is probably a brief friendship, or perhaps just strangers who have never interacted. Maybe one step down from wedlock is an engagement to be married in the future. But where does a “wedlease” fit into the scale? A wedlease is a short term marriage entered into until a predetermined and agreed upon time (say one year, five years, or ten years). If the couple reaches the termination date and still want to remain together, they simply renew their contract. Sounds romantic, right?

The new term has been cropping up around the globe by lawyers determined to make divorces easier to come by, and less damaging for everyone involved. The logic stated is that divorces keep happening anyway, why not work around them?

France based lawyer Stefania Marcassa states, “in many countries, the cost of divorce is pretty high. Why do you have to waste money, if you can just decide to write it ... Read more »

The Ripe Age for Marriage

Published | Tags: , , , , ,

Have you ever been given the advice that you should wait to marry until after 25, or maybe even as late as 30? Would you give that same advice to someone else?

Chances are, most of us have heard at some point in our lives that getting married too young is a recipe for disaster. And when it comes to basic divorce statistics, such wisdom seems to be supported. But what is too young? Is there really something magical about 25 years old?

According to Norval Glenn at the University of Texas at Austin, 25 years does make a significant difference in the success of marriage, but it may not be in the direction you think.

The Best Age

In his study, Glenn argues that one of the main reasons we are seeing a large incline in the average at at first marriage, approaching 30 for men and 28 for women, is consistent findings in research that the risk of divorce continues to drop with age. Teen weddings are clearly not supported. And since 30 year olds show a lower risk of divorce ... Read more »

Dating and Dogs

Published | Tags: , , ,

Anyone who knows me knows that dogs are my favourite part of the world. If someone had proposed to me before my husband just by offering me a puppy and a ring, I would have almost certainly said yes.

As terrible as that may seem, it appears that I’m not entirely alone in my love for animals affecting how I date. A recent study entitled “The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating” concluded that women find pet owners more attractive than non-pet owners.

The study relied on the results of questionnaires completed by 2,300 users of

The gist of it


more likely to have been attracted to someone because he had a pet. often felt that a relationship could not work with a “cat person”. reported frequently judging a date based on how her pet(s) reacted, and more likely to judge a date based on how they reacted to her pet(s). less likely to date someone who didn’t like pets. more commonly reported being attracted to men with pets in their online dating profile ... Read more »

Putting Your Marriage on the Operating Table

Published | Tags: , ,

One of our followers asked the question “Is divorce ever healthy?”

That is a good question, and to really address it let’s start with the word healthy.

Health is defined as proper and normal function.

Whenever we are sick and go visit a doctor, their goal is to fix whatever is not working right and return us to health.  But what happens when it cannot be fixed?  The best option for our survival is to remove the unhealthy part completely. When it comes to divorce, it may also help to put “marriage” under the surgical light and see what is really going on.

Healthy Marriage

Based on years of research, we have a pretty good idea of what a healthy marriage looks like.  While we could create a very long list, I have chosen some of the most important aspects which represent the majority of research:

A healthy marriage is…

safety for deep connection and intimacy. effective communication and problem solving. respect for each other. teamwork in providing the best possible care for the family. support and involvement. trust and loyalty. dedication. effort to forgive, sacrifice, and make things right.

Usually, when we are ... Read more »

For Love or Money

Published | Tags: , , , ,

Financial issues are a great source of tension in many people’s lives. Students may have to take out loans in order to cover the cost of tuition, housing, and books. Couples may struggle to afford mortgages or rent costs. New parents feel the joy of their baby mixed with the pain of medical bills. It seems no matter who you are, it’s hard to avoid money problems.

Unfortunately, financial strain can take a great toll on relationships. Statistics indicate that the #1 topic of argument in relationships is money, and money is often linked as a significant cause for divorce. The big question is: if everyone struggles with finances at some point, how can we keep our relationships from suffering?

A study by Barton, Futris, and Nielson discusses one key tactic for reducing financial based conflict within marriages.

Expressing Gratitude

When gratitude is expressed regularly in relationships, the strain of finances is lessened. While it may seem more important to receive gratitude, than to express it, the study found that for both men and women, relationships become more stable when ... Read more »

5 Foundations of Morality

Published | Tags: , , , ,

The majority of us could probably name at least one or two things that you would immediately recognize as hurting a relationship.  And many of us would probably name most of the same things: once you are married, you aren’t supposed to have sex with anyone but your spouse, don’t abuse your partner, and don’t start dating someone else until you have actually ended another relationship.

But have you ever done something that you didn’t think would be a problem, or maybe even thought it would help the relationship, and your partner reacted like you had done one of the worst things possible?

When it comes to how we behave in a relationship, we may find that there are no clear social rules about what is or is not acceptable.  In one relationship, giving someone of the opposite sex a ride to school or work would be just fine, but in another your partner may turn into a jealous monster who wrecks your car and threatens the other person.  This lack of rules can often make relationships confusing and unpredictable.

According to ... Read more »

The Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce

Published | Tags: , , ,

I never know what I’m doing when I pick produce at the grocery store. I try to look like I’m a knowledgeable adult by knocking on the watermelons, squeezing the tomatoes, smelling the oranges. Really, I know nothing. All I can do is pick the best I can, and wait until I get home to see how well I did. Sometimes I get duds, but other times I have some really delicious fruits and vegs.

Research suggests that there is a ripe time for marrying, just as there is time when my produce is best for picking (I should probably look at the latter before shopping again). While it is true that people change and every couple will hit hard times throughout their relationship, science can give us a helpful hand to know our prime age for successful marriage.

The Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce

Researcher Nicholas H. Wolfinger studied the best time to get married in order to lower your risk of divorce. Then, to assure he got it right, he did it again. Both studies indicated that there’s ... Read more »

6 Characteristics of the Marriage-Ready Couple

Published | Tags: , ,

If you were asked “how long should a couple date before getting married?” what would you say?  10 months?  2 years?  A week?  The truth is there is no magic number of months or years that make a couple ready for marriage.  Six months may be more than enough time for one couple, but another couple may need six years.

Research shows that couples who are always moving forward in their relationship do experience greater stability and satisfaction than those who hold back from taking important steps.  What really matters is the development of certain skills and characteristics that mature a couple enough to take the next step down the aisle.  So what are these characteristics and how do you know if you are ready?

There is no one study that answers these questions, but a large collection of research highlights some of the most important characteristics of couples who will have the best chance for successfully making the transition into marriage.

Coordinating Life Plans

According to Shmuel Shulman at the Bar Ilan University in Israel1, one of the main events that moves ... Read more »