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Strong Connections at Work Increase Job Satisfaction; Stress Management

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Volume 16, Issue 3

Building a Stronger Marriage

There   are   many   reasons to make your marriage a top priority and to  put  extra  effort  into strengthening your current relationship. Financial, emotional, and social aspects are a few obvious reasons but the benefits of a happy marriage extend well beyond those. On average, people who are married live longer, healthier lives. Unhappy  unions  can increase your chances of becoming ill by approximately 35% according to research conducted at the University of Michigan (Verbrugge and House).

What makes marriage work?

John Gottman, one of the country’s foremost relationship experts, has spent thirty-plus years compiling scientific evidence on the ingredients that  go  into  happy  marriages.  He  found  that these  marriages  were  alike  in  seven  ways  and refers  to  them  as  the “Seven  Principles”  that happily married couples follow.

The  foundation  to  a  strong  marriage  is  a deep friendship comprised  of  a  mutual  respect  for and  enjoyment  of    each    other’s    company.    So  to  strengthen  your  marriage,  strengthen  the friendship that brought you together in the first place.

Principle  1: Be  intimately  familiar  with  each other’s world. Know what your partner’s goals, hopes and worries are. The more you know and understand about each other, the easier it is to stay connected.

  • Always catch up on each other’s day.
  • Go out once a week.
  • Make each other a priority

Principle  2: Nurture your fondness and admiration for each other.

  • Remind yourself of your spouse’s positive qualities.
  • Maintain a sense of respect for your spouse.
  • Take time to tell your spouse that you appreciate them and why.
  • Recount happy events in your past.

Principle 3: Turn towards each other instead of away. This is the basis of emotional connection, romance, passion, and a good sex life.

  • Check in with  each  other  during  the  day  by text, phone, or e-mail.
  • Do not take your everyday interactions for granted. Have agreements on ways to connect together  daily,  e.g. breakfast, walking the dog, exercising.
  • Be helpful to one another.
  • Support each other in other areas of your lives.
  • Reunite at the end of the day to talk about what each of you experienced.

Principle 4: Let your partner influence you.

  • Truly listen to your spouse’s ideas and perspectives.
  • Share in decision-making.
  • Convey attitudes of honor and respect towards each other.

Marriages can survive anger, complaints, and even some criticism. However, the better   able your partner has to say and consider your partner’s perspective, the more likely you are to create a workable solution that is acceptable to both of you.

Principle 5: Problems can be solved by:

  • Softening your startup to discuss an issue, for example, using a calm tone instead of angry yelling.
  • Learning to receive and make attempts to repair trust, for example, using a bit of humor instead of a defensive response.
  • Compromise.
  • Accepting your partner’s flaws.

Principle 6: Try to find common ground on grid- locked issues.

  • Focus on conversation first, rather than solving the problem.
  • Keep working on your unresolvable conflicts. Couples who expect a lot of their marriage are more  likely  to  have  deeply  satisfying unions  than  those  who  have  low  expectations.

Principle 7: Create shared meaning. Develop mutual purpose for your relationship.

Create rituals such as family dinner time that encourage conversation and  open,  honest discussion.

  • Talk about your views with each  other  on how you see your roles in life.
  • Discuss personal goals with each other.

As the old adage states, you only get out of something as much as you put into it. What are putting into your relationship? If you would like help with your relationship, are finding it challenging to connect with your spouse, or would like to explore ways to strengthen your marriage, your EAP can help. EAP consultants specialize in working  with  couples to improve communication, build relationship skills and strengthen marriages.

Further information about these principles   can   be   found   in Dr. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.


The foundation to a strong marriage is a deep friendship comprised of a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company.

Improve Your Memory

Drink in moderation. Check out the website http://rethinkingdrinking. niaaa.nih.gov/ if you are concerned about how much alcohol you are consuming, or contact PAS.

  • Seek treatment for depression and anxiety. Contact PAS if you have concerns about depression or anxiety.
  • Eliminate unnecessary stressors in your life. Some things just aren’t worth stressing over.
  • Get a good night’s sleep, as many nights as possible; take a nap, especially after learning something new.
  • Write it down—putting it on paper helps commit it to memory.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Use word and visual associations to help you remember names, lists, phone numbers, to do lists.
  • Discipline yourself to pay attention and stay in the present moment.
  • Place reminders in your environment.
  • Feed your brain—discuss nutritional tips with a dietician through PAS.
  • Eat breakfast. Your brain needs a steady stream of nutrition to work properly.
  • Play brain games to keep your mind nimble.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation.

Unplugging from Work

Work  is  an  important part  of  our  adult  identity.    From    the    basic function   of   providing financial support to the more  complex  roles  of social   connection  and intellectual       stimulation,    work    positively impacts  many  areas  of our lives.

Statistics  cited  by  The  Center  for  American  Progress  indicate 86%of American men and 67%of American women are working more than forty hours per week. Some of us are physically spending  more  time  at  work  due  to  the  impact  the  economy has had on the  job market.  For  many of us, smartphones and other technology have improved   our   connection   to  people in  general,  but  they  have  also  contributed  to  the  blurring  of boundaries between work and the rest of our life. The more we stay “plugged in” to the  job outside our formal working time, the more difficult it becomes to achieve the personal balance we need to feel healthy, happy and energized.

Balancing work with our personal lives is about making choices. We all have a fixed amount of time during the week and a limited amount of physical and mental energy. We need to ex- amine our values and priorities in terms of how we spend our time and energy. Here are a few ways to achieve better work- life balance:

Create boundaries between work and home.

  • Mentally resist replaying work situations when you are on your way home.
  • Play music or listen to a book on tape.
  • Exercise before going home; take a walk before or after dinner.

Set  limits  on  how  much  time you  engage  with  technology  at home in order to fully engage in your home life.

  • Focus on having  more  conversations with  your  family and friends  instead  of  texting  and  emailing  work  related  messages during your time at home.
  • Avoid electronic screens before going to bed as it may inhibit your ability to fall asleep.

Manage your time.

  • Organize household tasks and keep a daily to-do list instead trying to complete all of the week’s chores on your day off.
  • Run errands in batches based on proximity; it will save time and fuel.
  • Schedule family time; put events on a weekly calendar.
  • Do things you enjoy.

Manage stress with good self-care.

If  you  notice  that  you  are  not  participating  in  activities  that you previously enjoyed, are spending less time with family and friends,  and  are  experiencing  physiological  problems  such  as insomnia,  then  it  may be  time  to  sit  down with  yourself,  and perhaps a counselor, to discuss how to reverse this course and get back on track to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

Call your EAP (800-356-0845) to learn more about the many counseling and life management services available to help you improve your quality of life.

Featured Service: Getting Organized

For those wanting to become more organized but feeling overwhelmed with too much to do, PAS helps simplify life. Up to three hours are available to participants to work with PAS organizer coaches to:

Design a program (or system) that can build:

Time management skills

Prioritization skills

Skills to minimize procrastination

Ways to accomplish more with less stress

Learn techniques to improve:

Planning and scheduling work flow processes

Staying focused

Develop strategies to:

Reduce clutter and be more organized

Organize your home or office

Set up a filing system for home or office

PASWord Express © 2013 is published by Personal Assistance Services, 9735 Landmark Parkway, Suite 17, St. Louis, MO, 63127 -9968 (800) 356-0845. Material may not be reproduced without written permission.