I can talk about relationships all day and they don’t have to be romantic; all relationships in our lives are important and worth evaluating to make them better. With this thought in the back of my mind, I recently read a blogpost, “The Key to Lasting Love May Surprise You,” ( by my fave author, Donald Miller. He references an article found in Scientific American Mind magazine, titled: Fall in Love and Stay That Way, by Robert Epstein.

There were several exercises outlined in the original article that the author also uses in the classroom as they study increasing bonds in relationships. They range from “Soul Gazing” (staring into the eyes of your partner) to “Let Me Inside” (closing in on each other’s space intentionally getting as close as you can without touching) or “Secret Swap” (sharing a deep secret). Through research he has determined these to be effective “Love Building Exercises” increasing positive affection toward the other person (even when they were strangers). Several exercises make up his full list.

I enjoyed Miller’s post and after reading the mentioned article in full I could appreciate his summarizing positivity as a key factor. He also mentions another article, The Happy Couple by Suzann Pileggi which highlights the fact that “thriving couples accentuate the positive” in life as a couple. Recently I shared about being a cheerleader for your spouse in my tips for newlyweds. It’s nothing new for me to agree with this idea.

So is this the secret key to long lasting happy marriages? Keeping a positive attitude and approaching your significant other with the idea that the glass is half full not half empty will be encouraging, uplifting, and should be reciprocated… well most of the time. So that’s promising.

Michele Dortch ( shares in her latest blogpost some other keys that I think are also important and tie in with with this idea. She reviews the book, titled: The Language of Love & Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate by: Dr. Emerson Eggrichs. The communication ‘codes’ simplified are: for the ladies to communicate respect to their spouse and for the men to communicate love. How profound.

Perhaps there is more than one key to happy long lasting relationships. Communication and commitment also rank pretty high. But trying them out and keeping them in the forefront of our minds are more important than just knowing what they are. Practice makes perfect. So I plan to practice these keys. I know I have tried to be a positive person for many years, but I also know there are times I can speak with a lack of respect to someone (especially those closest to me). Even if it’s subtle disrespect, it still is… disrespect. I’m just being transparent.

This is where I want to focus on my relationship skills: communicating with respect consistently. And this goes for all relationships in my life: with my children, Mr. M., family members, and friends. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try out those other “love building exercises” I read about. “Soul Gazing” sounds interesting, for example as well as “Let Me Inside”. But respect will be primary.

Author's Bio: 

About the author, Katherine Shinault:
SOLO dot Mom, is where she shares her life as a Christian single mom - dating, loving life, and taking care of her kiddos. A personal development enthusiast, she enjoys helping moms find themselves while keeping it real - through the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. She offers her tips and true stories about parenting and relationships from the lens of a single working mom.