The Single Best Relationship Tip Ever

By Dr. Wendy Walsh

207150_1381When couples are asked to name their biggest relationship problem, hands down, the most reported issue is communication. But there’s one simple trick that most couples’ counselors teach. It has helped save many a marriage and is called emotional mirroring.

The exercise goes like this. Couples sit face to face and hold hands. One partner talks about a relationship issue and the other listens intently and attempts to understand how the other must be feeling. This isn’t a game of who’s right and who’s wrong. Even if the facts don’t seem accurate, the partner who is listening must believe that the feelings associated with the partner’s memory of events are valid and real. After the partner finishes speaking, the listener repeats back in her or her own words what they think the partner is saying. Then they switch sides. The object of the exercise is to teach empathy for a partner’s experience, it is not to argue the facts.

When you try this for the first time, you might be really surprised to find that your partner didn’t hear you well, or translated your words into a totally different meaning! This is a great way to practice love and acceptance. To get you started, here are a few ground rules:

1. Arrange the time for emotional mirroring when there will be no distractions like children, phone or television.

2. Before you begin, hold hands, look into each other’s eyes and tell your partner you love them.

3. Toss a coin to determine who goes first and switch off each time you do the exercise.

4. The partner who shares first must try to not blame the other but instead focus on feelings and reactions to the other’s behavior. No name calling. No angry attacks. Keep voices calm.

Do this at least once a week and watch your relationship blossom into a loving, secure attachment.

You can catch more from Dr. Wendy on her website: Www.DrWendyWalsh.com

How Love Extends Your Life

By Dr. Wendy Walsh

393096_7738You might think that life expectancy is in your genetic code, but research says you have far more control than you think. In his best selling book, Blue Zones, National Geographic researcher, Dan Buettner, looks at five areas on the planet where an astounding number of people live to be over the age of 100, and then he looks for lifestyle commonalities. While you might think the read is a diet and exercise book, it includes good news about the life extending benefits of healthy relationships. Nearly all the centenarians in Buettner’s work have solid life-long partners and active sex lives.

A study by researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Cincinnati supported the idea that married and cohabiting individuals live longer. The odds of a married individual living longer than a never married individual are 60 percent. The odds of mortality for married people are 40 percent higher than widows, and 30 percent higher than divorced or separated persons. In addition, married individuals have a lower mortality rate than cohabiting individuals.

And, married people experience fewer health problems and are less likely to take part in risky health behaviors like smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating. The National Health Interview Survey showed that in the young age range of 19-44 the leading causes of early death among those who never married were infectious diseases (researchers presume HIV) and external causes. Cardiovascular and other chronic diseases plague middle aged and older unmarried men and women. In contrast, married individuals have greater heart health, and attain shared employer benefits, which means great health, eye and dental care. Marriage is also one of the greatest protectors against poverty, one of the least healthy situations a person in the United States could be in.

Many married couples will complain about how their partners are “slowly killing them” or “giving them more grey hairs”, in some marriages this may be true, but, contrary to popular belief, most spouses are not soul suckers; they are more of a life giving force. Those who marry are more likely to be socially active, rather than withdrawn or introverted. Social interaction is necessary for human beings to build relationships, relieve stress and live happier, healthier lives. The ultimate committed relationship, marriage, just lends an extra helping hand to extend that lifeline into a blissful future.

Read this and other great articles by Dr. Wendy Here

Royal Baby and Attachment Style

photo_6343_20080618Hello,
As I write this from the UK, we are all waiting with baited breath as the Duchess of Cambridge is in labor at St. Mary’s Hospital with Prince William by her side. Later today, I plan to take my kids over to Buckingham Palace to read the birth announcement the Queen is set to post. New babies always make me think about attachment and how crucial the child parent bond is to future romantic attachments. As Linda Hatch says in her PsychCentral.com blog,  “We repeat in adulthood whatever we did to get love as a child.” Let’s hope the Royal family practices attachment parenting. The good news for the rest of us is that attachment injuries can be healed through therapy and sound relationship choices.

– Dr. Wendy Walsh

Is Marriage in Your Future? Why Money & Education Matter

Wendy_WalshWhile marriage rates are low, wedding bells and an alter could be in your future, but much depends on if you fall into a category demographers call “marriage-eligible Millennials” – people whose marriage rates are actually on the rise.

An analysis released to USA TODAY reveals what so many of us already know: the U.S. marriage rate is low and in fact, has reached its lowest point in over a century. But this decline may not apply to you. While the economic recession resulted in the number of marriages decreasing by more than 5%, this study predicts there will actually be more weddings among the over the next two years.

The low rates of marriage are mostly related to two factors: couples eschewing legal marriage and instead dipping their toes in commitment by co-habitating and the recession, that makes couples slower at saving money for the big nuptial bash.

But the future looks brighter for some who want to get married. Not everyone will experience the decline firsthand – U.S. birth forecast provider Demographic Intelligence anticipates a 4% bump in the number of weddings from 2009. According to the study, women ages 25-34, the college-educated, and the affluent, are likelier to soon exchange vows than those with a high school education or less, younger Americans, and the less affluent – all who’s marriage rates are stagnant or steadily decreasing. In lower socio-economic classes, marriage and parenthood have become two distinct concepts and the middle-class is beginning to follow suit. But in the highly educated and high earning group, marriage rates highest and predicted to be going up.

Of course, there are the naysayers. Some demographers, including co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, fear this study may be “overly optimistic.” In a 2012 report conducted by the center, Manning and her team found that one-third of people that said, “I do” last year were not marrying for the first time, and that these remarriages were not among younger generations.

Manning also points to the fact that the average age of first-time brides and grooms is getting older each year. Three years ago, the average age was 28.2 for men, and 26.1 for women, compared to the estimated 29.2 and 27.1, respectively, by 2015. What’s more is that experts, including Demographic Intelligence president Sam Sturgeon, expect these numbers to only continue escalating – and for at least another decade.

Bottom line: Get a graduate degree, a good job and by the time you hit the age of 27, you’ll be part of that lucky group of “marriage-eligible Millennials.”