10 little white lies that affect your marriage

Keep your relationship on track and find advice on things you should and shouldn’t say to your partner.

By Jessica Padykula

Learning how to talk openly with your partner
Honesty may be the best policy most of the time, but there are occasions when the best course of action is to keep quiet. What you do or don't say can have a significant effect on your marriage, so it's important to know when to speak up and when to step back.

Knowing when to open up a discussion and when to stay quiet can go a long way toward improving your relationship and keeping conflict to a minimum. To learn more, we spoke with Terri Orbuch, author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great (Delacorte Press, 2009). She shared five things you should always share with your partner -- and five things you should keep to yourself.

Five things you should always share:
1. Financial details

You might think surprising your partner with a new washer-dryer is a good idea, but you should discuss the purchase before you hand over your credit card. "When couples make joint decisions they are happier and more likely to stay together over time," Orbuch explains. "When both partners are involved in big purchases they feel like they are part of a team -- and that team approach is important for marital happiness."

2. What you like (or don't like) in bed
It may be difficult to talk to your partner about your sex life, but it's important. "Open communication about what your partner can do or say to boost your sexual desire is important," says Orbuch. Before you speak up though, make sure that what you have to say isn't hurtful. "Bear in mind that there are always multiple ways to say something. So find the right time and the right way to bring these topics up," she says.

3. Hurtful family encounters
You might want to avoid upsetting your partner, but any encounters you have with his family that are hurtful to you should be discussed. "Your partner's happiness is influenced by whether you get along with his family," Orbuch explains. You don't need to be best friends with his mom, but you do need to get along with her. If one of his family members has treated your poorly, ask him for his assistance or for ideas about what you can do to address the problem.

Page 1 of 3 -- Discover why personal health problems and details about your social life are important to your partner on page 2


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