At the individual level, we need people to understand the importance of working on their relationships—by establishing open communication, comparing expectations, respecting one’s partner and working together on problems. Being aware of relational disposability can help. Trying to take others’ points of view and appreciating what you have can also help. Spending less time gazing at your phone when you’re together and more looking at your loved one is another step in the right direction.
At the national level, we need to invest resources in educating young people about the importance of relationships, especially in the face of technology—about how to find a partner, how to maintain relationships and how to deal with expectations gaps and conflicts.
Relationships require hard work. Even small changes, such as having a weekly or monthly date night, can help. Relationships also involve compromise, which may mean sacrificing your dream destination for your honeymoon—but the process of compromising could save your relationship and lead to an even more rewarding life destination.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Omri Gillath is a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas. He is a co-author ofAdult Attachment.