3 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship in August

The end of summer is all about transitions and clean slates. Back to school. Sweater weather. A shifting emotional energy in anticipation of autumn. In essence, it’s the perfect time to refresh your relationship. Here, three out-of-the-box ways to try. Heating things up now could be the start of something really cool. 

3 Behaviors That Predict Divorce

a woman laying in bed

Go To Bed Angry

According to relationship guru Dr. John Gottman, “Research indicates that about two-thirds of recurring issues in marriage are never resolved because of personality differences—you’re unlikely to work out that fight about the dishes no matter how late you stay up.” So rather than pick at an old wound at 11:35 p.m., go ahead and pass out pissed off, if you can. “We found that when couples fight, they are so physiologically stressed—increased heart rate, cortisol in the bloodstream, perspiring, etc.—that it is impossible for them to have a rational discussion…If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed during a fight, take a break and come back to it later, even if that means sleeping on it.” Then, when you awaken with fresh eyes, identify one or two things about your beloved that are never going to change. (He’ll probably always loan his brother money despite his questionable life choices. He’ll likely stay out too late with his friends and ruin your brunch plans yet again. He’ll never truly believe sunscreen is necessary. Should we go on?) Then let those issues float away on the autumn breeze. Refocus your energies on your own life by reconnecting with an old friend, networking with a new colleague, or simply committing to walking outside more. Sometimes the key to a better “us” is working on a better you.

a couple holding hands in the car

Don’t Sabotage Your Own Vacation

What is it about Labor Day getaways that fill us with such panicky desperation? Is it that they’re one last grasp at a summer we meant to spend at the beach but instead spent at the office? Is it that everybody and their mother hits the highway—and the rest stop bathroom—simultaneously? Word to the wise: Anticipate all of it. Writes travel influencer Kiersten Rich (aka The Blonde Abroad): “Stress, unfortunately, is an impetus for fighting. While traveling, you’ll undoubtedly be placed in stressful situations as unexpected scenarios arise and you and your better half are tasked at working as a team to find a solution. Don’t be naive and think, We will never fight when we are traveling. Everything will be so perfect, why would we fight? Whatever it is that you tend to fight about as a couple at home, expect to fight about the same things while traveling…It’s a lot easier to snap at the one you love when you’re about to miss a flight or you’ve just had your bikes stolen.” Her advice? “Take a deep breath (or ten) and stay conscious. Everything will be fine.” As one wise woman once told us, “When all else fails, manage your expectations.” At least when it comes to getting those bikes back.  

how to survive the summer with kids

Embrace Bickering

It’s still hot AF outside. You may have several red, sweaty children with sand in their swimsuits, 65 lbs. of beach gear to haul across a sweltering parking lot in a rickety wagon, and the only thing you’ve eaten today is half a bag of Goldfish crumbles you found on the floor of your minivan. Obviously, you are ready to murder someone. It may seem like you’re unhappily hitched, but hold up. A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology finds that marital conflict (especially when resolved in healthy ways) can be a sign of marital investment. Explains UMass Amherst psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne: “Partners who believe their relationship is on the demise won’t invest the same level of emotional resources into settling disagreements.” They will have already given up, checked out, surrendered to the idea that their bond is broken. They won’t even bother to bicker. In other words, “Complacency is perhaps the most significant trap to avoid.” So the next time he needles you about overfeeding the fish (even though it legitimately looked hungry), take comfort knowing he still cares.