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5 Relationship Enrichment Behaviors

Ok, the research actually calls them "Relationship Maintenance Behaviors," but that's a little too dry for me--plus, I don't think people are searching and striving to "maintain" a status quo, but rather we want to enrich what's going on between us and our significant other.


Daniel J. Canary and Laura Stafford came up with these back in the late 80's, early 90's, and research folks of all stripes have been referencing them ever since:


1. Positivity: Just that: Saying good things that you really mean to each other.


2. Assurances: This form of positivity gets its own separate category: Making assurances about the relationship (i.e. "a year from now, let's plan a trip to xyz…")


3. Openness: Beyond the positive stuff, being willing to talk about difficult, sensitive issues.


4. Sharing tasks: From planning trips and dealing with bills, you wash, I'll dry, etc.


5. Sharing some friends (but not all of them--you each get to have some of your own!)


Take a few minutes to think about how these five are operating in your relationship, and see how you can add in more of each.

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