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UCLA

Inject New Energy into Your Marriage

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By Bethany Powers '11

Published Feb 24, 2009 9:24 AM


Looking to reignite the spark in your marriage, but a little unsure of how to do it? Many couples long to return to the energy they had when they first started dating. But finding good relationship advice can be frustrating; poring over self-help books or scientific journals for advice is not exactly romantic.

Allow Dr. Thomas Bradbury and Dr. Benjamin Karney to step in with the information you need on intimacy, communication, and everything in between.

In 2007, the two men began the Relationship Institute at UCLA, an innovative and practical service that provides couples with the resources needed to maintain healthy, strong relationships. Both professors have spent over 30 years researching what makes marriages successful.

"When people are in loving, supportive relationships they are physically healthier and more productive at work," said Karney. "A healthy relationship is the foundation for a healthy life."

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Bradbury remembers one of the first couples he encountered when he was learning how to be a marital therapist. To help them understand why they were squabbling more and more, he presented them with research he had encountered, and remembers the husband getting angry.

"He wanted to know why people don't know what I was showing him if it's that easy," said Bradbury. "At that moment I realized so many couples don't have the basic information on how close relationships work."

Bradbury said he has received a lot of encouraging feedback and kept in touch with couples that have seen their relationship positively improve after the seminar. An email he recently received from a participant said she and her husband were utilizing what they learned in the seminar because it was easy and practical, and because the presentation was so enthusiastic.

The seminar is highly interactive, with a hint of research tied into videos and engaging exercises, including a lot of one-on-one time for the couples. They relate the research to real life, making the abstract as realistic as possible.

"Men are often a little ambivalent when they first walk in," said Bradbury. "But after they come they understand their relationship better and walk out as happy as their wives."

Building Your Best Marriage. Saturday, March 29th, 2009. For further information, visit www.relationshipinstitute.ucla.edu.

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