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They Find a Village
"We've heard the phrase, 'It takes a village to raise a child,'" Wilcox says. "Well, it takes a village to foster a good marriage, too." Wilcox and his colleagues have found that couples who enmesh themselves in communities that bolster their relationship, whether by having a network of supportive family and friends or being part of a religious community, are more satisfied even than loving couples who go it alone. Couples should be wary of friends or family members who, as great as they may be in other ways, don't support their marriage, Wilcox says. These are the people who highlight your spouse's missteps (like the friend who simply can't get past some thoughtless remark he made to you years ago or less-than-pleasing habit he has, even if you've moved on). He also warns against friends who tend to tear down their own partners. These folks don't have a lot of respect for your marriage, their marriage or marriage in general—and time spent with them may be best spent doing things rather than talking about things.