How To Have The Marriage You Want
There’s nothing like dragging yourself home at the end of a bad day and having your hubby meet you at the door with a glass of wine, dinner on the table, and a sympathetic ear. If you’re thinking “Um, yeah, and the Tooth Fairy’s standing next to him ready to pay my dental bill, too,” take heart: Just because your spouse isn’t the doting kind, it doesn’t mean you can’t—or don’t already—get healthy amounts of support from him.
And that’s good news, because spousal support is a big predictor of happiness in women, a new, admittedly unsurprising study reveals. Researchers at Kent State University asked 50 couples to fill out a journal every day for a week ranking their moods, as well as how much emotional support they provided and received from their spouse. No shocker here: The women who reported feeling supported were happier than those who didn't.
More from Prevention:6 Vows Every Couple Should Make
But even if you weren’t gifted some real-world Prince Charming (he always sounded kind of boring anyway), you can learn to coax just about anyone, yourself included, to be more giving. Here’s how:
Give what you want to get.If you feel like you aren't being supported, you might be lacking in the support-giving department, too, suggests Maryann Comaroto, a relationship expert in the San Francisco area. “If you're dwelling on what you're not getting all the time it creates a spiral effect—one of the quickest ways out of that doldrum is to get out of yourself and give,” she says.
Don’t play games.You can hope your man will guess what you’re thinking until the cows come home, but that’s not going to get you anywhere. “Men’s brains are literally wired differently,” says Comaroto. “They’re not as detail oriented, and they’re not oriented to be as relational as we are.” The solution? Don’t try to manipulate him. Instead, be straightforward about what you want. If you want to be taken out for dinner to celebrate your promotion, tell him. (Just how good of a communicator are you? See if you're making common blunders with 4 Attitudes That Can Kill A Relationship.)
Be open-minded.Just because he isn’t showing you the type of outward support you're looking for does not automatically mean he doesn't care, says Comaroto—it just means you have different ways of showing it. Look for the way he does support you, and focus on appreciating that.
Give yourself what you want.A little self-love goes a long way—and can attract the kind of love and support you're looking for. “Quit relying on your partner to create the climate of your relationship. It's too much pressure and not his job,” says Comaroto.
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