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The scenario: Maybe you are outraged by the dirty socks strewn across your bedroom floor. Or you are frustrated that your anniversary has gone unacknowledged – again. Whatever the reason, your spouse is trying your patience. How do you bring back that loving feeling?

The solution: Try writing down your grievances from the point of view of a neutral third party. According to a new study in the journal Psychological Science, spending a mere seven minutes on this exercise every so often can boost marital satisfaction.

The study looked at 120 couples, and found that those who were asked to complete the short writing exercise every four months were happier with each other and less upset by disputes, even though they fought just as frequently. "Not only did this effect emerge for marital satisfaction, it also emerged for other relationship processes – like passion and sexual desire – that are especially vulnerable to the ravages of time," lead author Eli Finkel of Northwestern University said in a press release. "And this isn't a dating sample. These effects emerged whether people were married for one month, 50 years or anywhere in between."

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