If you're joining us late, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, announced on Twitter yesterday that they're filing for divorce. 

It's fun to jump to all kinds of conclusions and speculate how the absurd wealth the Bezoses have accumulated will be divided between the couple.

But the fact that the Bezoses' marriage spanned a quarter century speaks volumes about their endurance, in an age when 50 percent of couples will toss in the towel much earlier.

While that's admirable, I've wondered if and how the Bezoses could have avoided divorce, had they chosen that path.

As with most marriages, it's no cakewalk. But the most successful couples I've witnessed put in the work and effort! Both partners are committed to the end, and the vows exchanged at the altar aren't mere lip service. 

That said, here's what the best continually do over the years, as suggested by science and top marriage experts. Would these strategies have saved the Bezoses' marriage when trouble began brewing? 

1. Successful couples talk openly.

They make time to check in with each other regularly, and not just about managing the kids or paying the bills. They'll spend a few minutes per day sharing about deeper or more personal topics to stay connected emotionally.

For example, think about making time every night, after the kids are in bed, to listen with enthusiasm and open ears about the best thing that happened to your partner that day at work.

Ask questions about any wins, show positive emotion, and be engaged during your interaction. In several studies, couples who are trained to communicate with enthusiasm and interest tend to experience greater love for each other following those nightly talks.

2. Successful couples fight constructively.

Couples who argue constructively to resolve an issue will try to find out exactly what the other is feeling, listen to his or her point of view without interrupting, and even make him or her laugh in the process with a silly joke to brighten the mood.

On the flip side, research has found that couples who argue ugly and often may be bound for divorce. This is particularly true for couples communicating in anger and disdain, yelling, resorting to personal criticisms, or withdrawing from the discussion.

3. Successful couples create space for spontaneity to happen.

I can't even fathom what it's like for the billionaire Bezoses to have to manage a behemoth global empire like Amazon, oversee the $2 billion Day One Fund to help homeless families, tend to the schedules of four busy (and extremely wealthy) children, fend off the feisty media, and juggle their many outside commitments.

All that to say, when you're mega-busy with life's many professional and personal commitments, marriages can stop being interesting. And the person suffering the most may be your partner!

In one joint study conducted by Stony Brook University, Oakland University, and University of Michigan, researchers found that couples who reported boredom during their seventh year of marriage were significantly less satisfied with their relationships nine years later.

To stay truly connected and keep things spicy, the most successful couples plan regular date nights. But not just same old, same old. Experts recommend trying new things like taking a dance class or enjoying a random afternoon picnic on a workday.

The point is to create space in your life for spontaneity and creativity to happen. That opens up all kinds of possibilities to bring the romance back.

Published on: Jan 10, 2019
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