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The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems — and How to Fix Them | TIME

Stashed in: Relationships, @bakadesuyo

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I was once in a bar watching a sporting event, and somehow got to talking to one of the guys on the next barstool about how awesome his wife is! Even more amazing, he focused on how good she was at her job -- surgical nurse supervisor -- and how much he admired her for it. I thought... wow, if this guy expresses this much genuine admiration for his wife when he's had a couple beers, to a female he doesn't even know... their marriage must be solid!

Sounds like it. That's a really unusual thing to talk about in a bar!

#2: Responding positively to “bids”

No, this has nothing to do with eBay. We all frequently make little bids for our partner’s attention.

You say something and you want them to respond. To engage. It can be as simple as saying, “Nice day, isn’t it?”

It’s almost like a video game: when the person responds positively (“turning towards a bid”) your relationship gets a point.

When they don’t respond, or respond negatively, the relationship loses a point… or five. Here’s John:

The couples who divorced six years later had turned toward bids only 33% of the time. The couples stayed married had turned toward bids 86% of the time. Huge difference.

Couples with high scores build relationship equity. They’re able to repair problems. They’re able to laugh and smile even when arguing. And that makes a big difference. Here’s John:

If you turn toward bids at a high rate, you get a sense of humor during conflict. Humor is very powerful because it reduces physiological arousal during arguments and that’s been replicated in several studies.

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