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What if one hour a day could make or break your relationship?

I recently read an article in Women’s Health Magazine titled One Hour to a Happier Relationship that I thought was well worth sharing with you guys. Having been married and divorced I am passionate about helping couples stay together since I now recognize that if I had tended to the little things that crept up on a daily basis, our marriage may very well have remained intact.

So whether you’re a newlywed still aglow with that post-wedding bliss, a seasoned vet with 30+ years of marriage under your belt, still feeling the flutters in your stomach with a new-found love, or waiting for the day you’ll meet Mr./Ms. Right, I think you’ll find this information useful.

Merritt Watts who wrote the article explores the idea that the first hour a couple is home from work is quite possibly the most crucial hour of the day. We live in a day and age where stress levels are at an all-time high, and when we allow stress from our work life to bleed into our home life, things can get ugly fast.

To combat any unnecessary drama, Watts breaks that first hour into 20-minute intervals and gives us strategies to help keep our relationships happy and healthy.

Part One

Watts stresses the importance of taking time to be alone and decompress when you first walk through the door. Finding something to help you wind down like a glass of wine, a hot bath, or listening to one of your favorite albums. But whatever it is you do in those first 20 minutes, it’s best to take them for you and you alone.

Probably a bit harder if you have kids but maybe each of you could take turns. 20 minutes is not that long but can do wonders for the psyche. Whenever I take just 15 minutes to meditate, I feel like a whole new person. So I think Watts is on to something here.

Part Two

She suggests you take that next 20 minutes of the hour to communicate with your partner about your day. Venting if need be but make it quick and to the point. Don’t linger on a subject for hours on end. Get it out and move on. This simple act of sharing our stress with our partner actually helps bind us together as a couple.

Part Three

Then the last 20 minutes of the hour is about allowing your other half to share any woes they may have had throughout the day. Ladies: this is sometimes tricky since men typically have a harder time opening up than women do. But unless you allow them that space, a lot of times they’ll bundle it up inside, as a friend of mine recently discovered.

Her husband had taken on a new job and was overly stressed at work but because they weren’t in the habit of connecting in this way, he hid it for months. It starting showing up in his actions, apathy around the house, and stress-related health problems so she finally confronted him about it. All is fine now that everything’s out in the open but as she learned, you can’t support what you don’t know.

So essentially this last part of the hour is about giving your partner the same courtesy they offered you and just listen. And if for some reason having to listen to them ramble on about their “stuff” annoys you, remember:

Couples who help each other cope with daily stress have more sex and even orgasm more frequently, found a study reported in the Journal of Family Psychology.

If that doesn’t get us motivated to ante up and listen, I don’t know what will.

So what’re your thoughts? What did you think of Watts’ advice? For the happily married folks out there, how do you manage your stress as a team? Do you use similar tactics or something completely different? Care to share your secrets for marital bliss?

Photo courtesy of cnbc.com

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