Who knew? Just a few little words can make all the difference in a relationship! In my work with couples, I've found that certain words and phrases, repeated often enough, are key to staying connected to the one you love most.
What are they? After "I love you," here are six simple phrases guaranteed to superglue the bond you share with your significant other:
• "WE CAN WORK THIS OUT."
Notice the word "we" versus "I." A handful of studies have found a link between marital happiness and how often couples refer to themselves as "we." That's because seeing yourself as a team makes you more likely to cope well with the day-to-day problems that are inevitable in any long-term relationship. What's more, "we" lends a spirit of cooperation to your discussions, and that not only translates into fewer disagreements overall, but also results in arguments that tend to get resolved more quickly.
• "I HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING."
Even when you disagree with what your significant other is saying, this phrase tells him or her that you're listening with an open mind. That’s huge, because when this happens, your partner is more apt to share his or her innermost thought and feelings with you, which has magical power to bring you closer.
• "WOW, THANK YOU!"
In the happiest relationships, couples make a point of acknowledging all the little things—from his clearing the table or taking the kids to the park, to her picking up his dry cleaning or making him his favorite dinner. But the closest couples add an exclamation to their thanks.
For example, adding "Wow!" is like underlining your thanks or putting it in bold type, so you know your partner feels loved and appreciated. Bonus: Studies show that an exclamation registers differently on the cochlea, the part of the inner ear that receives and analyzes sound—so the person literally perks up, listens, and better hears what's being said.
• "GO FOR IT!"
This is the perfect phrase to utter when your partner is sharing his/her thoughts, hopes and dreams with you. In fact, research reveals that couples who serve as cheerleaders for one another are more than twice as likely to describe the bonds they share as secure and unbreakable.
• “MY BAD.”
Nobody’s perfect…duh! But when couples in the happiest relationships screw up, they own it and say, “I’m sorry.” They’ve learned (often the hard way) that an apology has amazing powers to heal rifts, diminish stress in a relationship, eliminate grudges—and above all, prevent further misunderstandings.
• "I'M CRAZY ABOUT YOU!!"
Most of us think nice thoughts about our mates all the time, but all too often, we tend to keep them to ourselves. Of course, we don’t this on purpose; we merely assume that the ones we love most already know how awesome they are.
Truth is, our significant others need to hear—again and again—how smart, charming, and wonderful they are. In fact, constant reminders from the person whose opinion they value most (that'd be you!) keep your partner's self-confidence and spirits high and his/her connections to you tighter than ever.
Todd Reed is a Certified Professional Coach and bestselling author with over 20 years of Commercial Television and Radio broadcasting and interpersonal coaching experience. His books, Conversation is Sexy and Revolutionize Your Relationships, have led to guest appearances on CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates, as well as on over 75 radio programs. He’s also been featured as a relationship expert in Woman’s World, Men’s Health Singapore and First for Women. For more information visit www.coachtoddreed.com