The Marriage Hack

I recently watched a Ted talk by Eli Finkel entitled “The Marriage Hack”. I wanted to share my summary and hope that it will spark interest for you to watch the video. I must note upfront that this is NOT just for marriages. This is a “life hack” that can be applied to any type of conflict in your life.

Who are your confidants? The study shows that the number of close people you once trusted has plummeted recently from 1985-2004. We now rely on a relationship for this type of connection.

What women expect from marriage now is different than it was before. He has to be everything to a woman so she becomes so dependent on the man that the importance of the bond in a marriage is huge.

Marital quality – matters twice as much as everything else, health, friendships, job etc. They did a study comparing the quality of people’s marriages to congestive heart failure. What they found was rather interesting. If you have a happy marriage you are 3x less likely to have a higher morality rate. The BAD NEWS is that most people show a downward slope in their relationship. Their happiness from newlywed to married for years and years slowly goes down.

Marital Intervention – it’s the 21st century we don’t have to sit idly buy and watch our relationship plummet! We can intervene! Most people attribute this thought to marital therapy, BUT they usually go to this option when it’s an end-all-be-all leading towards divorce/separation. It is important to start this earlier in your marriage when things are GOOD not when they get BAD.

Marriage Hack- the focus is on conflict. Sounds kind of silly right? But if you’re married you’re going to have conflict. But it is HOW you navigate the conflict. For example in a bad functioning marriage we yell, discourage, and recoil. The better thing to do is not give into the conflict and fight. Doing the same thing over and over will not get you anywhere new.

The Marriage Hack is designed to give psychological space to fight CONSTRUCTIVELY.

Here’s the Study:

120 couples from Chicago area every 4 months over 2 years they completed a long questionnaire and wrote about the most recent conflict in their marriage. They were given the rest of the 21 minutes. Once they finished the questionnaire the remaining time from the 21 minutes was given to them to write about the experience. Here they could openly talk about the most recent conflict they had in their relationship and get it all out. In the Second year of the study they implemented The Marriage Hack and continued the study.

What they found:

If no Marriage Hack was applied, the marriage continued to slope down. When The Marriage Hack was applied to marriage, it began to improve and slope up again.

What is The Marriage Hack?

Here are the 3 questions you must ask and answer when facing a conflict:

Think of the conflict as a third party that wants the best for everybody
What obstacles will you confront while trying to adopt the above perspective?
How can you surmount these obstacles?
When the couples implemented this into their relationship they were less stressed, depressed and they were happier!

The point is to try a different way of thinking and see yourself from an objective perspective.

So you might be asking yourself WHEN? As in when do you apply this “Marriage Hack”? Now! No matter how long you have been married, start now. Just as John F. Kennedy said (and was referenced in the video), ” The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”. Meaning that you should work on your relationship when it’s good, not when its too late and you have implemented bad habits.

Watch the original video here.


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Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).