Can Reading an Article Improve my Relationship?

As a Relationship Therapist of over 25 years, my answer to this question is “Yes.” You may think you don’t have time to read relationship advice articles. You may think you don’t need to go to some “outsider” about your personal relationship. But consider this:

When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic—someone who has studied cars and their function. When you get sick, you talk to your doctor— someone who has spent a lot more time studying the body and medicine than you want to. But, even before things start to break down, you listen to the sounds your car makes; you pay attention to what’s going on in your body. If you start to get a cold, you take preventive medications. Doesn’t it just make sense that reading up on relationships might be a “preventive medication” for the most important relationship of your life?

Here are some disturbing facts:  Only about 25% of couples have the skills or temperament that can carry them through difficult times in a relationship. The other 75% divorce or learn to tolerate an unhappy marriage. Good relationships require focus, flexibility, and willingness to be open to change.

So, why re-invent the wheel? Science has a lot to tell us. We can learn about how to make our relationships better and more rewarding. For example, John & Julie Gottman spent 30 years studying 3,000 couples. The Gottmans studied couples who said they had a reasonably good marriage. This extensive research project tells us what we can do in relationships to improve them and more importantly, what can ruin a marriage. John & Julie Gottman are among a number of relationship experts who have used science and cutting edge practices to improve and even save marriages. I don’t think it is wise to ignore good advice that is grounded in solid research on real people.

There are many marriage and relationship websites. SmartMarriages.com is an excellent resource, as is MarriageFriendlyTherapist.com. You can Google other marriage experts such as Harville Hendrix, Brent Atkinson, Sue Johnson, John Gottman or Bill Doherty just to name a few. These individuals are well respected in the relationship therapy community. One note of caution:  you don’t need to spend money to get good advice from the internet. Some websites offer “programs” to improve your marriage. These “programs” can be costly and not very helpful. I think romantic relationships are important enough to spend money on; just be mindful of the adage, ‘buyer beware.’

So how do you know which ones are the best for you? Ask your friends or better yet, ask your partner. Read the articles together to see if there is anything of merit for the two of you. The important thing here is that you and your spouse learn together. You might even suggest to other couple friends that you get together now and again to talk about good relationship articles or books you’ve read. Check your church, synagogue or mosque for marriage groups.

Our marriage or relationship is the most important connection we have outside of our parents and children. We pick each other; we live with each other longer than we do with parents or children.  Our relationship is where we look for comfort, happiness, reassurance and companionship. You should be reading pertinent information that can be helpful. As a couple’s therapist, I consider an important aspect of my job to be educational. Don’t wait until your relationship is in trouble and you need to see a therapist.  Read the experts yourself and be preventive.

Related Articles:
How to Create Emotional Intimacy by Engaging Fear, Anger and Love
One Important Question That Can Get You and Your Partner Talking
I’m Doing Everything I Can but My Marriage Still Isn’t Working, What Do I Do Now?

© Copyright 2011 by By Pamela Lipe, MS, therapist in Saint Paul, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Harriett

    Harriett

    November 18th, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Self professed self help junkie here- if there is a site or a book out there that claims to make you and your relationship the best it can be, I have probably visited the site or read the book. But for me after a while it all sounded so tried. So I gave up on all of that and started actually trying to talk through my issues with a real live person, and I am so much better for it. Yes I think that resources like this can have value in your life but you have to know where to draw the line and learn to live in the moment of what you have instead of always idealizing what you don’t.

  • sandy

    sandy

    November 18th, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    while hings mentioned in articles may not match what’s happenin with you exactly it is always a good thing to read and be knowledgeable bout things and if something similar comes up you know how to handle the issue.if you have seen a map then its easier to get to the place.if you think seeing a map is no use(because map and real world are not 100% same) then it will only leave you travelling an unfamiliar road!

  • KJP

    KJP

    November 19th, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    that marriagefriendlytherapist.com is a good one to check out

  • elena

    elena

    November 21st, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    there’s notin’ wrong in readin’ a story bout someone who had a similar problem to try n fix ur own..when my computer is havin problems I look up online forums where others ve had similiar problems n try to figure out what I can do to fix my computer..so why not the same for a relationship??

  • Sara B

    Sara B

    November 21st, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    hmmm maybe just actually talking to your spouse would be a good way to start

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