Stafford and Canary (2002) derived five relational maintenance strategies for marital resilience:
- ‘Positivity’ includes acting polite and cheerful, being nice, courteous, and upbeat during conversations, and avoiding criticism;
- ‘Openness’ involves discussing the relationship and sharing thoughts and feelings;
- ‘Assurances’ involves expressions of love, commitment, and in other ways implying the relationship has a future;
- ‘Social Networks’ concerns spending time with and including mutual friends and family in activities; and
- ‘Sharing Tasks’ refers to engaging in household chores as well as any tasks that may constitute the responsibilities of the couple.
While I’m not sure why they chose an acronym that spells PO ASS, these strategies provide some ideas for things we could do to help our relationships:
- Greet your loved one warmly.
- Talk about your dreams, aspirations, feelings, and/or insights.
- Do something nice that says “I love you”.
- Take some time to do something fun with your family or friends.
- Ask if there is anything you could do to help make their life easier.