How Cute Puppies Can Improve Your Relationship

How To Improve Your RelationshipHow do you handle difficult patches in your relationships? How do you reclaim the magic?

The answer can make or break a relationship. Some couples can go through a rough period and come out the other side closer. Some just . . . don’t make.

Would you like to know what the successful couples do? The secret involves cute puppies. More on that in a bit.

First, why do relationships have low points at all. If you’re really supposed to be with this guy, should things ever feel tense? Or is tension a sign that he’s not the one?

There are relationship experts out there who argue both sides. For example, Travis Bradberry is the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. He cites four signs that a relationship is failing. All four of them have to do with tension.[1]

On the other end of the spectrum, therapist Margarita Tartakovsky makes the case that conflict actually strengthens romance.[2]

Confused yet? Let’s pause and talk about cute puppies.

Researchers from Florida State University recently set out to determine if looking at pictures of cute puppies could help struggling couples regain some of their lost intimacy. The verdict? Cute puppies make a difference.

Couples who looked at images of adorable puppies just once every three days actually began to feel more positively toward each other.[3] It’s all about association. When you enjoy something, you enjoy other things you associate with it.

You can use the same effect to give it a boost. I have three tips for unlocking the magic of positive association.

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Getting What You Want From Your Guy

Getting What You Want From Your GuyTell me if you’ve heard this one.

There’s an old metaphor people sometimes use to describe relationships. They say relationships are like a checking account.

You make deposits when you do something nice or meaningful for your man. When you need something from him, that’s like making a withdrawal. It’s a simple analogy that mostly works.

Mostly. But here’s the problem with it.

People don’t really keep tabs on how often you do something nice for them. In fact, people are more likely to remember negative encounters than positive ones!

That’s not great news if you’re hoping a sweet gesture today will win you a favor tomorrow.

But fear not. There’s another way to get your guy to do what you want.

In a classic study dating all the way back to the 1970’s, researchers uncovered a strategy that consistently motivates others to fulfill YOUR requests.

No, it’s not magic. It’s not manipulation, either. It’s something far more simple. Plus, you can put this strategy to work in your relationship today.

If you want something from your partner, give him a REASON to act.

I know. It sounds insanely obvious. In fact, you’ve probably tried variations of this approach, yourself. But there are a couple of secrets to making it work every time.

The key is a two-prong approach – one thing you should avoid, and one thing you should include.

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When He’s Not Putting Your Relationship First

When He’s Not Putting the Relationship FirstDo you ever feel like everything else in his life comes first instead of you?

His friends. His sports teams. His gym. His phone.

It’s not like you expect his undivided attention 24-7. But it sure would be nice if once in a while you heard him say, “No, I can’t do that. I’m spending the evening with my girlfriend.”

How do you encourage him to prioritize your relationship, when there are so many other things competing for his attention?

Good question. But to understand the answer, let’s take a look at one difference between men and women.

You see, relationships occupy a different role in men’s lives than they do in women’s.

Relationships keep men grounded. A man feels secure knowing he can go out in the world to do battle since someone will be waiting for him when he returns.

But, to be successful, he can’t linger too long over thoughts of his lover. He has to muster all his focus, courage, and energy for the challenge at hand. When he fights, he fights alone. That’s because the male mind is compartmentalized.

Love is important to a man. But love won’t keep him at home.

For women, love is home. When a woman is in love, she takes thoughts of her lover with her everywhere she goes.

Love releases energy that makes all her daily activities feel less overwhelming, less effortful. It’s the energy of love she carries with her all day long.

It’s hard to see, then, why men would compartmentalize their relationships when love is such a powerful, positive, and pervasive influence in your own life. But men do compartmentalize love. And that’s very important to understand.

You might picture the different areas of a man’s life as balls he’s trying to juggle. His friends are one ball, his work another, romance another. A man arranges his life by juggling the balls.

You might be with a man who has a short attention span. Whichever ball falls into his hands is the one that gets all his attention. But then it’s time to throw that ball back into the air and catch the next one. He jumps from one focus to another, unable to prioritize.

So what can you do?

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How to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Relationship

How to Keep the Spark Alive in Your RelationshipRelationships get boring.

It’s inevitable. You’re with the same person. You do the same things.

And that’s exactly what you wanted when you got together. Security. Stability. No nasty surprises.

But our craving for constancy comes at a very big price:

We give up novelty.

We get just one person. One relationship. No refunds or exchanges.

Imagine having to give up every outfit in your wardrobe but one. You can pick your favorite outfit, but you have to wear it every day. How do you think you’ll feel in a week? Will you still love it as much as you did when you chose it?

Human beings crave novelty just as much as they crave constancy.

We want things to be the same but different. We want what we’ve always had, but we also want what we’ve never tried.

The pleasure of novelty is obvious in the beginning of a relationship when everything is new and wonderful.

For many couples, it will never be that exciting again. Even their tenth wedding anniversary can’t compare to that first date when they were both so nervous and excited and hopeful.

It’s the same way with clothes. You might even say that your pleasure in a new outfit declines from the moment you plunk down your credit card to pay for it. Now it’s just another garment hanging in your closet. The novelty is gone.

Relationships must find the perfect balance between the poles of constancy and novelty. Go too far one way, and it gets boring. Go too far the other way, and it becomes unpredictable.

How can you maintain that balance? Here are three suggestions.

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