Looking for ways to strengthen your relationship? Whether you just started dating, have been married for a while, or have been married more than once, we can always use some guidance in developing and maintaining a healthy and satisfying relationship. Each tip sheet includes recommendations and activities to enrich the relationships you hold dear!
The significant life-changing experience of becoming a first-time parent can be an exciting and stressful time, but can also take a toll on the marriage. In this publication, we describe why becoming parents may be difficult on the marriage and offer suggestions of how to cope with the changes that come along with a family addition.
When the last child leaves home, many couples experience difficulties to this new life adjustment. In this publication, we offer suggestions on how to identify and describe these problems as a couple and move into the "second half" of marriage.
Communicating about the sexual relationship can be very difficult for some couples. In this publication, we describe the importance of communication about sex, how sex is viewed differently, and offer some tips on how to communicate about the sexual relationship.
Many married couples say "I love you" to each other, but practicing love is key to a lasting marriage. In this publication, we offer suggestions of how to express love and give ideas of how to put love in to practice on a daily basis.
Because of their busy lifestyles, many couples find it difficult to make time for just each other. In this publication, we describe the importance of one-on-one time and offer tips on how to make time for one another in a busy daily life.
Interfaith couples may experience hurdles when blending religious beliefs and traditions. In this publication, we describe challenges that interfaith couples may face and offer suggestions of how to describe situations couples may face.
When one spouse is away and time is spent apart due to job- or military-related duties, the couple may experience unique hurdles and difficulties. In this publication, we describe difficulties long-distance couples may face and offer important strategies to help the couple and family during the time apart.
The loss of a child is an extremely difficult event for anyone to go through and often takes a toll on the marriage. Many couples do, however, maintain a healthy marriage through the difficult loss. In this publication, we describe strategies couples can use to talk about the loss and where to get support during this extremely difficult time.
While contemplating if a dating partner might turn into a marriage partner, deciding how compatible you are as a couple is an important factor. In this publication, we describe why compatibility is important and how you can decide how compatible you and your partner actually are based on five areas of importance.
Taking the time to think about the marriage can be difficult while planning a wedding, but taking the time to think about the decision to marry can help you avoid future problems. In this publication, we offer questions you should ask yourself and describe with your partner before you say "I do."
Dating is an important time of learning about yourself and your partner, but during the beginning stages of a dating relationship, each partner tends to put their best foot forward, which may lead to disappointment later in the relationship. In this publication, we describe the beginning stages of a dating relationship, and the steps new dating couples can take to avoid future disappointment.
Positive attachment is an important part of building a healthy marriage. When knowledge, trust, reliance, commitment, and sex are at balanced levels, strong, lasting attachment can help build stronger marriages. In this publication, we describe the five areas of attachment and offer suggestions on how to evaluate and improve attachment levels in these categories.
Many people believe that marriage is "happily ever after" and that happiness is the goal. In this publication, we describe the reality of marriage and the commitment involved.
Taking an annual inventory of the emotional, social, sexual, intellectual, recreational, and spiritual intimacy that is in a marriage can reveal what is being done well and what areas might need improvement. In this publication, we explain each area of intimacy in a marriage and how couples can evaluate and improve their intimacy level in these areas.
Committing to look for the positive in the relationship can have a strong impact on the strength of a couple's marriage and their levels of satisfaction. In this publication, we encourage couples to commit to having a positive point of view, to look for and built upon the positive things in their lives, share in and talk about positive events, and to be positive and encouraging toward their partner.
Anger is an emotion that everyone feels from time to time, but mismanaging this emotion can lead to hurt and difficulty in the marriage. In this publication, we describe some ways that anger is not handled well, and how to better manage and express anger so that the problem can be resolved without damage to the marriage.
Setting goals in a marriage can lead to expectations being met for both partners and for more marital satisfaction. In this publication, we describe the importance of setting goals and give some suggestions on how to set, evaluate, and reach them.
Taking the time to really get to know your partner can help build a strong relational foundation so that when significant life changes occur, the marriage can continue to stay strong. In this publication, we explain the importance of knowing your partner well and steps you can take to get to know each other better.
During partner communication, listening to learn, rather than listening to reject, is an important communication skill. In this Marriage Matters publication, we explain the difference between listening to learn and listening to reject and explain how listening to learn can lead to better communication and understanding between partners.
Since conversations about money are often emotionally charged, these conversations can quickly turn into disagreements. In this Marriage Matters publication, we list ways to communicate effectively about money, which may lead to better money management and harmony in the family.
Expecting a magical or perfect holiday season is something that many individuals practice, possibly leading to stress and disappointment, which can put strain on the marriage. In this publication, we offer suggestions on how to prepare for the holiday season by having open communication with your partner about expectations and realistic plans.
Making an effort to nourish your marital relationship can greatly strengthen your marriage. When conflicts do arise, using "I" statements can make communication more positive. In this publication, we list ways to nourish the relationship, explain the use of "I" statements, and describe the positive impact compliments can have in improving the marriage.
Conflict is a natural part of any close relationship, and learning how to handle conflict well can lead to each partner feeling understood and safe to share opinions and feelings, which can lead to an increase in marital satisfaction. In this publication, we describe the importance of conflict resolution skills and offer suggestions on how to communicate so that each partner feels understood and safe, so that conflicts are resolved in a healthy way.
Men and women communicate in different ways, which may lead to a misunderstanding. In this publication, we describe the ways in which men and women generally communicate and offer suggestions on how to communicate so that misunderstanding is minimal.
Many things, such as distractions, emotional states, beliefs and expectations, differences in communication styles, and self-protection can lead to a miscommunication between couples. In this publication, we point out several things that might lead to a miscommunication so that couples can identify them before they become a problem.
Positive interactions are important to building a strong marriage. When one partner attempts to make a positive connection, how the other partner responds impacts whether the connection is positive or negative. In this publication, we describe what it means to "bid for connection" and what each partner can do to create more positive connections.
Each person brings certain expectations to a relationship from previous experiences and exposures. In this publication, we describe expectations in the marriage and how opening describeing these expectations can lead to better marital satisfaction.
Money plays a major role in every marriage, and each partner handles money differently, which can lead to emotionally-charged disagreements. In this publication, we describe the impact money decisions can have on a marriage and offer suggestions on how to communicate with your spouse about money.
After the "honeymoon phase," many couples find that marriage is not exactly what they envisioned, possibly leaving them less than satisfied with their relationship. In this publication, we describe the normalcy of this feeling, acknowledge that adjustment is necessary and offer strategies for building a strong marriage.
Remarried couples are different from first-marriage couples in that they bring different experiences to the marriage. These experiences can lead to unique difficulties. In this publication, we describe the characteristics of a successful remarriage and encourage communication and commitment.
After divorce, many parents have difficulty establishing the type of relationship they will have in order to co-parent their child or children. In this publication, we describe the different types of co-parent relationships that can be established and offer suggestions on how to interact with a former spouse to maintain a relationship beneficial to raising a healthy child.
Many couples in a stepmarriage bring certain expectations to the new marriage that might be unrealistic, not only for the marriage itself, but for the whole family. In this publication, we describe what some of those expectations might be and offer tips on how to help the entire new family connect and love each other, which takes commitment and time.
How money is handled in a remarriage is a major decision based on past experience and financial resources available. Many remarried couples use a variation of a "Yours, Mine, and Ours" approach. In this publication, we describe different options for handling money in a remarriage and offer questions to answer on how money will be handled, opening the lines for communication.
Defining the role as a stepparent can be a very difficult transition, both for the stepparent and the stepchild. In this publication, we offer steps to help make the transition smoother and to help a new stepparent know what to expect in his or her new role.
Due to the increasing demands of the workplace, some couples experience problems due to the interference that work might have with couple or family time. The working spouse may feel the stress of a demanding job while the other spouse may feel that they are not the priority. In this publication, we describe the increasing demands of a job or career and the impact it may have on the marriage, while also offering suggestions on how to balance work and family.
As couples reach the later years of marriage, one partner may become ill and the other take on the caregiver role. In this publication, we describe ways for the caregiver to support their partner's self-esteem and describe options of support for the caregiving partner.
While, at times, marital satisfaction might decrease during the middle years, there are also many benefits to this stage of marriage. In this publication, we describe the highs and the lows of the middle years and what couples can do to increase satisfaction during this stage.
Describing end of life decisions can be uncomfortable and upsetting, but is an important topic to consider. In this publication, we describe ways for a partner to bring up end of life decisions in conversation and offer guidelines for talking about and making these decisions.
Retirement is not only a transition period for the individual but also for the marriage. In this publication we describe the impact that retirement might have on the marriage and how to prepare for this major life change within the marriage.