When a relationship is going well, it feels magical. After 40 years as a marital therapist, though, I know that good marriages depend on more than magic. They are built on habits that capture the feelings you have for each other and make them durable. I’ve seen couples use these skills to transform a poor marriage into one that is wonderful. My wife and I have experienced this ourselves.
In our case, Helen was the first to see that although we were developing a new type of marriage therapy professionally, our communication had deteriorated. After months of trying to analyze our way into a better marriage, Helen decided unilaterally to change the way she communicated with me. She flooded me with praise. It was as if she put on new glasses that magnified the good in our relationship and obscured the problems.