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Mind + Body, February 2012

Published on: February 01, 2012

Keeping the love alive with your partnerValentine's Day Giveaway
Love is certainly in the air this month -- and we want to help you keep those giddy feelings alive and kickin' well past Valentine's Day!

Leave a comment below letting us know how you and your sweetie keep the love alive and you could win a pair of tickets to our upcoming lectures with John Gottman and Seattle's favorite medical mama, Wendy Sue Swanson. (Winners will be chosen on February 29, 2012 and notified.)

We've got two pairs of tickets for four lucky couples -- to learn more about the expert marriage and life advice that awaits you, check out our lectures page. Here's wishing you a happy Valentine's Day with plenty of chocolate, kisses, and happiness!
UPDATE: Winners Martin and Paula were chosen and notified via email. Thanks to all who entered!

A Smooch a Day . . .

When you’re married or in a long-term relationship, those early passionate lip-locks can easily transform into routine, “have a good day at work” pecks as the years go by. Although this drop in daily smooching doesn’t mean that we love or adore our partners any less,  Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist, reveals that this mouth-to-mouth connection is one that’s well worth keeping around.

In her book What Your Mother Never Told You About S-E-X, Hutcherson writes, "Getting back into the daily habit of kissing can rekindle a couple’s intimate connection.” She adds, “For some women, kissing is even more intimate than intercourse.” And scientists agree: When two people kiss, their bodies release endorphins and oxytocin; hormones that help us feel happy and more attached.

In the pursuit of happiness, Hutcherson challenged five women to simply kiss their partners more each day, and the results were undeniable. The power of the kiss is alive and well, with one woman noting that after kissing her partner more than they had since their honeymoon, the couple was “as giggly and as turned on as when they had first met.”

Overall, the five women said that they felt young again, silly, more in tune with their partners, and that this resurgence in smooches benefited their overall connection as a couple. One wife who had been living off of a one-peck-a-week average exclaimed, on day four of her assignment, “Two ‘I'm heading to work’ kisses this morning and I swear I notice a little pep in his step. I come home and dinner is on the stove. … Later he gives me a foot rub on the couch.” And on day five? “He gives me a list of chores and has them split up between us. His list is twice as long as mine!”

            —Jen Betterley

Marriage tips from John GottmanFebruary’s list

Keepin' the love alive
Since 1973, Dr. John Gottman has been studying the science behind relationships and marriage. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five of our favorite tips from Gottman on keeping the love alive and your marriage going strong:

1. Seek help early. The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. (And keep in mind, half of all marriages that end do so in the first seven years.) This means the average couple lives with unhappiness for far too long.

2. Edit yourself. Couples who avoid saying every critical thought when discussing touchy topics are consistently the happiest.

3. Soften your “start-up.” Sometimes arguments first “start up” because a spouse escalates the conflict from the get-go by making a critical or contemptuous remark in a confrontational tone. Bring up problems gently and without blame.

4. Have high standards. Happy couples have high standards for each other, even as newlyweds. The most successful couples are those who, even as newlyweds, refused to accept hurtful behavior from one another. The lower the level of tolerance for bad behavior in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road.

5. Focus on the bright side. In a happy marriage, while discussing problems, couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones. For example, “We laugh a lot,” not “We never have any fun.” A good marriage must have a rich climate of positivity. Make deposits into your emotional bank account.

To learn more about Gottman and his upcoming May 10 lecture in Seattle on “Making Marriage Work: Building Trust, Love and Loyalty,” visit

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