Study Highlights Five Strategies to Help Maintain Relationships

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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How can you maintain the strength of your relationship over time?

New research coming out of the University of Illinois suggests there are five primary ways committed couples can continuously secure their bond.

Researchers Brian Ogolsky, a University of Illinois professor of human and community development, and Jill R. Bowers conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies and 12,273 individual reports to determine openness, positivity, assurances, shared tasks and a shared social network are strategies couples can use to improve their relationship.

The study showed a person who practices one of these five strategies is likely to practice the others and a partner who notices one of the strategies being used is likely to be tuned into their partner’s efforts in the other four areas.


“A person who practices one of these five strategies

is likely to practice the others as well.”

The five relationship strategies were described as:

  1. Openness: Partners share feelings while also encouraging partners to do the same.
  2. Positivity: Maintaining an optimistic manner with partner.
  3. Assurances: Feeling assured partner is in it for the “long haul.”
  4. Shared Tasks: Share burden of tasks in an equitable manner.
  5. Shared Social Sphere: Making an effort to include partner’s friends and family in some activities.

Ogolsky explained:

“Persons who use any of these maintenance strategies will not only be more satisfied with and committed to their relationship, they are also likely to continue to love and, yes, even like each other throughout its duration.”


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