habits of happy couples

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They Spend Some Mental Time in the Nosebleed Seats
Most couples try to see their partner's point of view when they disagree. But the trick to marital bliss might not be looking at an argument from the other side, a forthcoming study suggests, but from outside it altogether. Northwestern University social psychologist Eli Finkel and his colleagues asked married couples to spend just seven minutes writing about a recent fight with their spouse from the point of view of a neutral observer, three times over the course of a year. (We're envisioning a neutral observer in the cheap seats describing, say, a high-school play.) When the year was up, those couples had more satisfying, trusting and passionate relationships than couples who didn't do the writing exercise—not a bad return for the time it takes to watch a sitcom. To try it yourself, find the writing prompts on page 6 of Finkel's paper here, he says. "Then get out a piece of paper and a pen—and get started!"