American Life News Relationships

A secret successful couples and families know

Successful couples and families know great relationships don’t happen by accident.

“Love is a feeling. Marriage is a contract. Relationships are work,” marriage and family therapist Lori Heyman Gordon said.

The work of a relationship is staying a pleasure in each other’s lives as couples, friends, and families.

One secret successful couples and families know is to set aside minutes to regularly nurture their relationships through five simple steps known as the PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading. These steps help parents connect with their children, couples deepen their bonds, and friends stay close.

The PAIRS Foundation’s unique version of the Daily Temperature Reading, refined over decades based on experience with thousands of singles and couples, goes like this:

Appreciations: Get in the habit of looking for what’s right in the people you’re close to and express your appreciations aloud when you connect with each other. Appreciations need to be sincere and specific, not general, such as “You’re a great person.” For example, “I appreciate the text message you sent me,” or “I appreciate how seriously you’re taking your schoolwork this semester.” Sincere and specific!

New Information: Next, keep each other up to date on what’s happening in your life. That might be sharing about an article you read, a conversation you had, something new at school, work or in the community — anything to let family, friends, and children know about the meaningful events in your life and showing them you care enough to keep them updated. Keep each other up to date!

Puzzles: Assumptions can be deadly to relationships. When you have something you’re wondering about, ask your questions instead of assuming. For example, “You seemed tired today, are you sleeping okay?” “I’m wondering how you’re doing with that new assignment,” “I noticed you’ve been working later than usual and am wondering what that’s about.” Keep an open mind and learn to check out anything your wondering with the person who can actually let you know the answer if they have one. Ask, don’t assume!

Concerns with Recommendations: Differences are a natural part of any close relationship. When there’s a behavior that’s getting in the way of the closeness and connection you crave, say what it is, express how you feel when it happens, and ask for what you want instead. For example, “When you don’t’ let me know you’re going to be late, I feel sad (or worried), and what I’d like instead is that you call or text to let me know you’re running late.” Focus on one specific behavior and ask for what you want instead!

Wishes, Hopes and Dreams. That might be about what you want for your next meal together, the vacation you want to take, a goal you want to accomplish, or anything in between. In close relationships, people regularly share their wishes, hopes and dreams so others know what’s particularly meaningful to us at a moment in time. Sometimes, we can even help each other’s wishes, hopes and dreams come true. Share your aspirations!

Couples, families and friends who make it a habit to check in with each other in these five areas in sequence have a better chance of deepening closeness, connection and intimacy. Before long, what may start as an intentional exercise becomes a natural habit. Your closest relationships will become stronger, closer, and more resilient.

When you’re ready to learn or practice the Daily Temperature Reading, PAIRS Foundation has an AI-powered Relationship Coach named Yodi who will help you succeed. Learn more and get started at

Your relationships will thank you.

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