It's called "intimate separateness," and it's less counterintuitive than it sounds.

By Real Simple
Updated May 21, 2015

You've heard the saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and Michael Gurian's recent book, Lessons of Lifelong Intimacy, might just prove it to be true—especially when it comes to your marriage. In this week's episode of "The Labor of Love," host Lori Leibovich talks to Gurian about his new book and the concept of "intimate separateness": how time apart—both physically and emotionally—can actually improve couples' intimacy.

One of Gurian's findings they explore is the idea of psychological separateness, and how couples need to find domains of control within the home that are best-suited to their personalities. If one partner decides to be in charge of food, bill paying, or chores, they should be allowed to own that responsibility without interference from the other. Listen to the full episode for more of Gurian's insights on communication, brain development, and even infidelity. Of course, Gurian's relationship rules won't be right for every couple, but they certainly provide interesting ideas for achieving a happy, lasting marriage.

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