Midwest Matchmaking’s 7 ‘Love Hacks’ to Keep Relationships Alive31 Oct 2018
Many Midwest Matchmaking clients we work with are looking to their partners to replace the companionship and emotional support once provided by extended families and local institutions like churches, clubs and organizations. Meanwhile, many dating singles in the Midwest are so busy with their jobs and parenting that they’re actually spending less time together. Studies have shown that this could be related to the decline in people’s satisfaction with their relationships.
What can we do about this? Well, you either reduce your demands or increase your supply. If you can’t do either of those, Dr. Eli Finkel, a psychotherapist who owns a laboratory at Northwestern, offers what he calls “love hacks” – proven techniques that takes little time or effort and doesn’t even require cooperation from your partner. These are not necessarily going to save your relationship if there are more serious problems going on, but they keep it from declining, and may at least keep it on track.
Below are 7 simple methods Midwest matchmakers suggest to help stave off stagnation in your partnership:
Assume the Best
If your partner does something wrong, don’t over-interpret it. Researchers have found that one of the biggest differences between happy and unhappy couples is their “attributional style” in explaining a partner’s offense. The unhappy couples tend to automatically attribute something like an unreturned phone call to a permanent inner flaw in the partner (“He’s too selfish to care about me”) rather than a temporary external situation, like an unusually busy day at work. When something goes wrong with your Midwest date, before drawing any conclusions about your partner, take a few seconds to consider an alternative explanation that puts the blame elsewhere.
Touch Your Partner
Local matchmakers recommend holding hands can win you points even when you don’t mean it, as demonstrated in an experiment with couples who watched a video together. Some people were instructed not to touch their partners during the video, while others were told to touch in a “warm, comfortable and positive way.” Afterward, the people who had been touched reported being more confident of being loved by their partner — and this effect occurred even when the people knew that their partners’ actions were being directed by the researchers. Their rational selves knew that the hand-holding wasn’t a spontaneous gesture of affection, but it made them feel better anyway.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Once a week, write down a few things your partner has done to “invest in the relationship,” or anything they have done that week to help around the house, make you happy or even, write down what made you fall in love with them in the first place. Our Midwest Matchmakers Rekindling those early memories can do wonders for igniting that romantic spark, and reminding the two of you of why you came together in the first place, and will help you remember those positive qualities, even when you two are fighting. Look back at that journal each time you feel yourself getting heated about something they did wrong. Chances are, those feelings will probably dissipate.
Midwest Matchmaking Says, Mind Your Manners
Yes, doing what our our parents told us in our early years applies to your adult Midwest relationships. It is very easy to forget to display the simplest of gestures that really help a relationship maintain a sturdy foundation. A simple “Please” or “Thank you” shows a level of respect, gratitude, and affection for your partner. Plus, it’s just good manners.
Celebrate Small Victories
When your partner tells you about something that went right in his or her day, get excited about it! Ask questions so your partner can tell you more about the event and relive it. Put some enthusiasm into your voice and your reactions. When researchers studied couples who were trained to use these techniques in their evening discussions, it turned out that each partner took more pleasure from their own victories, and both partners ended up feeling closer to each other. By sharing the joy, everyone came out ahead, and these local singles were happier than before.
Accept a Compliment
One of the most common factors in failed marriages is that people with low self-esteem have a hard time believing their partner really loves them, so they often preemptively discount their partner’s affection in order to avoid being hurt by the expected rejection. Eventually, even when they start off with a loving partner, their worst fear comes true because their defensive behavior ends up driving the other person away. Matchmakers in the Midwest see this all the time with our clients.
In testing ways to counteract this anxiety, researchers asked insecure people to recall a specific compliment from their partner. Giving a detailed account of the situation and the compliment didn’t have any effect, apparently because these insecure people could dismiss it as a lucky aberration: “For once I did something right.”