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"Love is not all about talking," says Patricia Love, coauthor of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. "It's about connection." Her research reveals that while women release the bonding hormone oxytocin through talk, "men need physical stimulus to feel connected," she says. Touch him a lot a few hours before tackling big relationship issues. And don't hold back. "Men need two or three times more touch than women do to feel bonded," she says. Even if it's not sexual. "Stroke him on the arm or brush him as you walk by," she says.
Go to bed angry.
Seeing red at midnight? Sleep on it. "The worst time to resolve conflict is when you're angry," says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist. Marriage researcher John Gottman discovered that conflict causes hormones to "flood" the body, which encourages us to fight harder against a perceived threat. The results -- pounding heart, shallow breathing, that overheated feeling -- make it tougher to concentrate on the conversation at hand. "The body needs at least 30 minutes to return to normal levels," Orbuch adds. So suck it up, tuck in, and calmly continue the discussion tomorrow.
Sweat the small stuff.
Fostering a constant curiosity about each other keeps relationships growing. "And by slowing down and noticing interactions, our partners become richer and more complex," says James Cordova, Ph.D. "Cultivating curiosity about your partner is the same cognitive trick as slowing down to appreciate a delicious food." Just as savoring a juicy bite of steak lets you taste its complex flavors, relishing a detail about a joke your husband made or asking about his day helps you appreciate him.