With divorce rates affect around 50 percent of all marriages, the big question today is: How can we stay together? Experts agree that the most important factors are good communication, a deep commitment and genuine caring. "A great marriage can enrich your life," write the authors of "12 Hours To A Great Marriage." The authors, Howard J. Markman, Ph.D., Scott M. Stanley, Ph. D., Susan L. Blumberg, Ph.D., Natalie H. Jenkins and Carol Whiteley, have drawn from their own experiences in wedded bliss at the University of Denver's Center for Marital and Family Studies to produce an informative, easy to use manual. These are their eight simple rules for a better marriage:

  1. Stay Calm -- Keep talks constructive, not destructive and accusatory. 
  2. Take A Time-Out -- Fights are easy to start and hard to stop. Yell "peanut butter" or "macaroni" if things get out of hand. That means everyone stops, takes a deep breath and has a good laugh. 
  3. Speak Clearly -- Make statements that reflect your feelings; "I feel hurt. I feel sad." rather than assuming what your partner thinks "You don't care. You are selfish." 
  4. Listen -- State your gripe, then wait for a reply. Repeat the answer to stay on the right track without misinterpretation. 
  5. Deal With It -- Don't wait for a problem to escalate. Talk about issues when they arise. 
  6. Have Fun -- Sharing leisure time and doing things you both enjoy is important for staying together and being happy. 
  7. Keep Love Alive -- Even if the initial rush of romance has passed, stay connected physically by touching and kissing. If you've grown apart, discuss what's gone wrong, then find a way to fix it. 
  8. Forgive -- In any relationship, someone will be hurt. It's important to say: "I'm sorry" and mean it. Empty words are worthless.


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