The 5 Best New Pieces of Relationship Advice We've Heard
...None of which come from love experts. Instead, we scoured the best in psychology and get-it-done business titles to find strategies that create more trusting, fun and conflict-free intimacies.
Don't Look At It from His Side
Trying to see a situation from your spouse's perspective is supposed to be a good thing, right? You get a snapshot of his or her feelings and thus can be more understanding and empathetic. Not so, says University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Nicholas Epley. In his study of 104 couples, he asked one partner to predict how the other would respond to questions on everything from the use of cash to biggest life regret. Some of the spouses simply guessed (e.g.,"Ernie would never use a credit card!"). Others had to write about a typical day in their partner's life, and then "put themselves in his or her shoes" before predicting (e.g., "Ernie works so hard all day at the bank, and he resents even paying five dollars for lunch; he would never use a credit card.") The result: Those who tried to imagine the other's perspective were less accurate than those who winged it—confirming Epley's real-life experience of giving his dolphin-loving wife a day of caring for the animals at the aquarium, not realizing that, since she'd just had a baby, she would not enjoy the binding, full-body wetsuit. While understanding that your partner may have a different take than you is helpful, he writes in Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want, you don't always imagine your partner's actual "different take." The best way to get your partner's point of view, he says, is to simply—oh yes, you saw this coming—ask for it.