Researchers Lori Schade, Jonathan Sandberg, Roy Bean, Dean Busby, and Sarah Coyne found that texting between partners could either help or hurt a relationship. For women, using texts to apologize, work out differences, or make decisions was associated with lower relationship quality. For men, too-frequent texting was associated with lower relationship quality.
On the positive side, researchers found that using text messages to express affection actually enhances relationships and creates a stronger partner attachment. Sending a loving text was even more strongly related to relationship satisfaction than receiving one!
Researcher John Gottman found that, for a relationship to be stable, there must be five positive feelings or actions between partners for every one negative feeling or action. Consistently initiating positive interactions makes it more likely that your relationship will survive and even thrive amidst stress, conflict, and challenges.
One way to build positives is through text messages, like these 5 types that will increase the goodwill between you and your partner.
“I love your enthusiasm for life!”
“You’re great at getting our kids out the door in the morning. Thanks for getting them to school on time.”
“You’ve got the best smile.”
“You’re really balancing work and home in a great way. Thanks for managing your work so you can spend some quality time at home.”
“You’re a fantastic cook. I love this new lasagna you made.”
“Thanks for doing all that laundry last night. I know you were tired.”
“Thanks for being so accommodating when my friends stayed over this weekend”
“Thanks for being so organized and signing the kids up for their spring activities already”
“Thanks for shoveling our snow as well as our neighbors’ sidewalk.”
“Thanks for that nice card you gave me on my birthday. It meant a lot to me.”
“I was thinking about that time we went to Chinatown for dinner a while back. Wasn’t that a fun night? We should do that again soon.”
“Thanks for the laugh last night. I really needed that.”
“I had so much fun with you at last year’s New Year’s 5K. Let’s do that again.”
“I borrowed my mom’s record player so we could listen to some old tunes like we used to.”
“So here’s the question of the day – if you had to pick one state other than the one we’re in now to live for a year, where would it be?”
“If you had to choose one spot that you love the most in this city, what would it be?”
“If you had to write a magazine article right now, what would it be about?”
“What movie would you want to see that’s out right now?”
Sharing a Bit of Joy
“You should have heard our son reading today – you would not believe how many words he’s learning!”
“I had the best time hiking in the woods with our daughter. We even saw a deer and her face just lit up when it crossed our path.”
“The new customer signed on at work – so excited!”
“I’m sending you this photo of our baby laughing over me peeling a banana. He just made my day.”
“I’m having a great time with my friends. It’s just like old times. Thanks for taking care of our kids so I could come out tonight.”
Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, author of Joy Fixes for Weary Parents (2017), is a counselor for individuals and couples in Chicago's western suburbs www.erinleyba.com. Sign up for tools to build personal and family joy at www.thejoyfix.com or follow on Facebook.