Dr. Aline Zoldbrod is a well-known Boston-based licensed psychologist, individual and couples therapist, and an AASECT certified sex therapist. She is the author of three commercially published books about sexuality and relationships. Her book, SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It has been translated into four languages and was recognized as one of the top three sex-help books of the year. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program. You can find her at sexsmart.com.
Tags: couples therapy | marriage | sex | savoring

Savoring Helps Couples Stay Close

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Friday, 22 November 2019 03:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I’m always on the lookout for new techniques to help couples stay emotionally connected — especially strategies that are practical and fun

One such strategy that I have found is called “savoring.” It involves learning to attend to and enjoy previous, current, and future positive events. Savoring is easy to do and is proven to increase couples’ satisfaction.

One great thing about this great idea is that it is free. I remember a while back reading a book that promised to put the zip in people’s sex lives. It described an event in a couple’s life where the husband told the wife they were going on a trip, and he would not tell her where. He told her to clear her schedule for a few days. She did. And she got very excited.

Then he whisked her off to a department store to get new clothes appropriate for their adventure. They shopped together for the clothes she would need, which he paid for. This charged the wife up even more.

Then, as the author of the book reported, they went to the airport and flew first class to a fancy resort. And — surprise, surprise — they had really great sex on their three-day vacation.

Well, congratulations to them.

But the author’s brilliant idea annoyed me. After all, this is a great strategy for wealthy people. But what about the rest of us? What about people with children and no babysitter? What about people who are not rolling in dough? What might be good for them?

Savoring is a strategy for all couples. It is a way of creating and prolonging pleasant experiences and memories.

There are three time frames that can be used for savoring. The first is through anticipating an event that will happen in the future. The second is consciously appreciating something great right while you are doing it. The third is savoring through reminiscence about the wonderful things you did together in the past.

Research consistently supports savoring as a way to increase couples’ satisfaction in their relationship. A March 2019 article by Katherine Lenger and Cameron Gordon in the journal Couple and Family Psychology found that while all kinds of savoring helped couples, positive anticipation was the most powerful.

I am embarrassed to say that I should have known about the savoring research, but I did not. I learned about it from a colleague, Dr. Rick Weinberg, who is a psychology professor at the University of South Florida — and who, like me, was a speaker at the Harvard Couples Conference that took place in Boston this month. We liked each other’s ideas. And I just love this savoring technique.

One message you can employ right away is to be creative in planning dates. Cook up your scheme early, and make it as detailed as possible.

Even if the date is simply driving to a beautiful spot for a walk and then going for ice cream at a farm stand, or going out to a favorite restaurant for appetizers, talk about your plans ahead of time so that you can both have time to savor the upcoming experience.

I have no doubt that you will embrace this strategy. My patients have been adopting it enthusiastically.

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Savoring is a strategy for all couples. It is a way of creating and prolonging pleasant experiences and memories.
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2019-42-22
Friday, 22 November 2019 03:42 PM
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