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Researchers Encourage an Annual "Marriage Checkup"

According to recent research, only 19 percent of currently married couples have taken part in marriage counseling. Nearly two-thirds of divorced couples never sought marriage counseling before ending their marriages. The research is clear: when it comes to our marriages, we're hesitant to ask for help.

As a matter of fact, one researcher, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, recently claimed, "It seems like we're even more resistant to thinking about getting help for [our marriages] than we are for depression or anxiety." This expert suggested why married couples resist outside help: many couples assume that an admission of marriage problems implies personal and marital failure.

But confessing marital strife and working on the underlying issues can definitely improve the relationship. A current study is tracking 217 couples who are taking part in an annual "marriage checkup" that offers preventive care, dealing with marital problems as they arise. The idea is simple: if we get regular checkups for our bodies, our teeth, and our finances, it also makes sense to have at least a yearly checkup for our marriages.

The study hasn't been finalized yet, but the researchers are already identifying a clear pattern: couples who take time for the yearly marriage checkup experience a greater level of marital satisfaction. That's probably not a big surprise, but the researchers also provide a practical application and challenge: take action now (perhaps with an annual checkup) by working on those seemingly small marital issues before they boil over into a crisis.

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