TIME Culture

Why It’s Okay to Wear White After Labor Day

Because the dated custom of avoiding it in September is no longer in fashion

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Tradition holds that this is the time of year when wearing white becomes a major fashion faux pas. But it turns out that the history of the “no white after Labor Day” rule isn’t so black and white.

In the video above, TIME’s Archives Editor Lily Rothman explains why Americans stopped wearing white after Labor Day (and also why you should feel free to rock your white jeans well after summer is over).

TIME Opinion

Why You Feel Weirdly Depressed on Labor Day

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A brief summer erica bartel photography—Getty Images/Flickr Select

Because you're mourning your lost youth. On the bright side, folders are on sale!

Come, children, time to don your traditional back-to-school scowl, for it’s Labor Day weekend! Time to wear fake mustaches while dressing up like early labor leaders Matthew MacGuire and Peter J. McGuire, both credited with suggesting the holiday in 1882. Time to sing hymns in honor of the workers who perished in the Pullman Strike in 1894. And don’t forget to leave a quarter under your pillow for the Union Dues Fairy to collect!

Just kidding, we all know what Labor Day is really about: mourning all the fun stuff you didn’t get a chance to this summer. Most holidays offer up equal doses of delight and disappointment (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Christmas) but on Labor Day, that balance is especially stark: whatever summer fun you’ve had by now is pretty much all you’re gonna get.

And that’s terrifying, because, let’s face it: the “last” barbecue of the summer is probably also only your second. You might be drinking a freshly made mojito, but it’s the first one you’ve had in years. Your bikini body definitely didn’t happen, and that vodka-soaked watermelon probably never will. You never even downloaded Anna Karenina, let alone finish reading it.

Summer, like everything else that glitters, is never as golden as we think. On Memorial Day we envisioned three months of bliss, punctuated by the satisfying “clucks” of opening beer cans. We never really let go of the school-age idea that “summer” is a break from real life, which it’s why it’s depressing to look back and see that life has been going on like usual this whole time. Even when we’re older and have jobs and responsibilities, it’s hard to shake the idea that we should have this time off.

So the idea of “summer” as a season-long vacation is so deeply ingrained that we can’t believe it’s not real — instead, we convince ourselves it’s just happening somewhere else to someone else. Cue the Labor Day ennui: we have somehow “missed out” on the summer that everyone else was having! Where was I this whole time? Just at work like a total chump? During the summer? Quick, hand me that moldy beach towel so I can wipe my tears. It’s a collective entitlement to summer relaxation that morphs into a shared melancholy when we think we’ve been robbed. Cue the vacant stares over Labor Day hot dogs, the heavy drinking of pale ale, the furious application of sunscreen from a still-full tube.

Because midway through the Labor Day tailspin, it occurs to us that it’s not just summer we’ve missed, but youth. Having a summer break is the privilege of being young, and missing one means you’re officially a grown-up.

Then again, it could help to remember that summer vacations of the days of yore were probably not all they’re cracked up to be. You probably had to get a crappy job or go to a day camp. You couldn’t drive yourself to the beach yet, or have sex, or drink, or make any decisions of your own. If you were in college you could do those things, but you also had other stuff to worry about, like where to get weed or how to get a job or whether your high school friends still liked you. In other words, even back when you had a summer vacation, you probably thought someone else had a better one.

So, cheer up! No need to mourn for summertime lost. And look on the bright side: you can still get affordable office supplies at the Staples Back to School center, for all the work you’ll be doing in the coming year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME Food & Drink

6 Refreshing Labor Day Cocktail Recipes

This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

You will most likely be headed out to a Labor Day barbecue of some sort this weekend (your small balcony equipped with grill counts, too), so it’s about time you start thinking about what to bring. While it’s just too easy to grab a case of beer and call it a day, we suggest you impress your friends and family with something a little more enticing than Miller Lite.

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Spiced rum cooler Smneedham—Getty Images

We’ve gathered six festive cocktail recipes from some of Chicago’s top mixologists that are guaranteed to liven up any party. Don’t worry about regretting that decision to skip bartending school, these libations are super simple to put together. In fact, navigating the weekend shoppers at the grocery store will prove to be more difficult.

Labor Day libations are only a click away.

(MORE: The 10 Best Rooftops In NYC)

  • A Quiet Smoke in the Woods

    Created by Mike Ryan, Sable Kitchen & Bar.

    2 oz. The Black Grouse
    .75 oz. Madeira
    .25 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
    Two hard dashes Angostura bitters

    Stir and strain, serve up in a coupe glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

  • Clean Break

    Created by Benjamin Schiller, GT Fish & Oyster.

    2 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
    .75 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
    .75 oz. Lemon Juice
    .75 oz. Simple Syrup
    3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
    3 Cucumber Wheels
    2 Grapefruit Swaths

    Combine all, shake hard, double strain into a coupe.

  • The Royal Mile

    Created by Charles Joly, Aviary.

    1.5 oz. The Black Grouse
    .5 oz. Benedictine Liqueur
    .5 oz. Earl Grey Syrup
    .75 oz. Lemon Juice
    Egg White
    Rare Tea Cellars Bitters

    Combine all ingredients aside from bitters in a mixing glass and dry shake to combine ingredients. Add ice, shake, and strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice. Decoratively add bitters to top of cocktail.

    (MORE: Master the Grill This Weekend)

  • Dry Lime In The Coconut

    Created by Thomas Mooneyham of Henri and The Gage.

    1.5 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
    1 oz. Ginger Syrup
    .75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
    2 oz. Coconut LaCroix Sparkling Water

    Combine Brugal Extra Dry Rum, ginger syrup, and lime juice in a mixing glass, shake and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with Coconut LaCroix, quick stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.

  • Dry Rum Cooler

    Created by Pete Gugni of Scofflaw.

    1.5 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
    .5 oz. Aperol
    1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
    .75 oz. Simple Syrup
    Cucumber
    Tonic Water

    Muddle cucumber and add Brugal Extra Dry Rum, Aperol, fresh lime Juice, and simple syrup to mixing glass. Shake and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with tonic water, and garnish with fresh cucumber.

  • Highland Breeze

    Created by Lynn House, Blackbird.

    2 oz. The Black Grouse
    .5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
    1 tsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
    2 tsp. Orange Marmalade
    1.5 oz. Tonic

    Combine lime, ginger, and marmalade in a mixing glass and stir until marmalade dissolves. Add The Black Grouse and ice, shake until well chilled. Double strain over fresh ice into a double old fashioned glass, top with tonic. Gently stir and garnish with a blood orange twist.

    (MORE: 19 Summer Cocktail Recipes to Perfect Now)

TIME Sexual Assault

3 Apps That Will Help Women Stay Safe on Campus

Circle 6

It’s back-to-school time for college students. Yet with all of the stresses of college life piling on — class, extracurricular activities, internships and active social schedules — most students aren’t thinking about how to protect themselves from sexual assault, even though they’re at a greater risk. That’s why the first six weeks of school, when freshmen are getting acclimated with campus life, including partying and being away from home for the first time, is often called the “Red Zone.”

And even as institutions — often with the help of the federal governmentroll out regulations aimed at combatting the issue of sexual assault on campus, a lot of power still rests in the hands of students. But thanks to the following apps, that power can be supported by technology and smartphone applications.

Though they aren’t perfect — because let’s face it, applications alone likely will not prevent terrible things from happening — the following tools were clearly created with modern women in mind.

Circle of 6

Circle of 6 can be a young person’s first line of defense against an assault. The application — one of two winners of 2011 White House challenge — allows users to let a select group of people know they are in trouble so they can get help right away, whether they need advice on health relationships, a ride home or a call to interrupt a risky situation. Through the application, users can even send directions to their exact location to provide for a seamless pick up. The application can also connect users to hotlines and emergency numbers if they’re ever in a bind. This application is likely best used if and when a person feels like he or she is heading into a risky situation— although it’s easy to use, who knows how much time you’ll have to access your phone if and when things go awry. The application is free and available on both iPhone and Android devices.

Bsafe

BSafe isn’t just an application: this all-in-one safety tool essentially creates a community of people working together to keep each other safe. It allows any user to have a group of guardians tagging along with them everywhere they go. It’s all encompassing, too. From the application you can share your location with friends, activate a fake phone call to break up an awkward (or potentially dangerous) moment and send alerts to your safety network if you need immediate assistance. It even has a flashlight. Bsafe is a free application available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Kitestring

Kitestring is probably the most practical tool for young women, though using it will require some advance planning. It’s not an application, but a web-based tool that you set to check-in on you over a certain period of time. Walking home alone from a bar? Meeting a new guy for the first time? Go online, tell Kitestring how long you’re going to be out (or how often you want to be checked up on) and the site will text you to make sure you’re safe. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, an alert is sent to your designated emergency contacts letting them know to reach out. Kitestring is available here; sign up is free, but free users can only designate one emergency contact and are only allowed to activate the service eight times per month. Unlimited usage is $3 per month.

 

 

 

 

TIME Food & Drink

7 Recipes for the Ultimate Labor Day Menu

Shrimp skewers
Con Poulos
Con Poulos

This post originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

If you’re celebrating the last few days of summer with a backyard barbecue, let this no-fuss menu be your guide.

  • Eggplant Caviar

    This smoky, rich eggplant dip paired with a hefty helping of pumpernickel bread and diced vegetables will give your guests something to snack on while the main course cooks.

    Get the recipe.

  • Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

    To keep the meat from drying out, marinate the chicken in a flavorful buttermilk mixture overnight and toss on the grill 30 minutes before dinner time.

    Get the recipe.

    (MORE: 15 Traditional American Recipes)

  • Shrimp, Salmon, and Scallop Kebabs

    Pair your turf with these tasty skewers, which star three of the most popular fish in the sea: shrimp, salmon, and scallops.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tomato and Mozzarella Quesadillas With Basil

    Vegetarians and meat-lovers will covet this gooey quesadilla, layered with vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkling of fresh basil.

    Get the recipe.

    (MORE: 20 Recipes for Fresh Summer Tomatoes)

  • Parsleyed Corn on the Cob

    Take this barbecue staple to new heights with melted butter and chopped parsley.

    Get the recipe.

  • Summer Squash Ribbons With Lemon and Parmesan

    Dress strips of squash with a simple, but delicious dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and shaved Parmesan—no cooking necessary.

    Get the recipe.

  • Peach and Raspberry Parfait

    This dessert is neither plain nor time consuming: Simply sprinkle fresh summer fruit with sugar and let sit for 20 minutes to create the perfect no-fuss sauce for vanilla ice cream.
    Get the recipe.

    (MORE: 17 Great Summer Desserts)

TIME Basketball

How Shelly Sterling Got Steve Ballmer to Overpay for the Clippers

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Clippers Game
Rochelle Sterling attends an NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers Noel Vasquez—GC Images/Getty Images

Shelly Sterling lived in her estranged husband and real estate mogul Donald’s shadow for decades. But shortly before her 80th birthday, Shelly proved to the world that she, too, has a strong business acumen, by getting former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to overpay for the Clippers, she said in a Thursday interview.

Sterling might have had no idea who Ballmer was when he approached her to buy the basketball team, but she told the Associated Press that she knew she had an eager customer.

“He was a like a little child,” she said. “He was so excited, so happy.”

Although Sterling said that they “sort of connected” and she “felt he would be good for the team,” that also didn’t stop her from getting what the AP declared an “unprecedented” offer for the team.

Sterling had first received an offer of $1.65 billion for the team from potential buyer David Geffen, but after talking to Ballmer, he offered her $1.9 billion. But Sterling wasn’t done: After Ballmer had tried to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, she made him promise he would keep the Clippers in Los Angeles.

“I told him, ‘you won’t have to build an arena or a practice field.’ So he was getting a bargain,” Sterling told the AP. “And I told him, ‘We have great players, a great coach and you’ll never have the chance to buy a team in Los Angeles again.'” An inspired Ballmer upped the offer to $2 billion and offered Sterling floor seats to every game as owner emeritus. “He really really wanted the team,” Sterling said.

According to leaked court documents that ESPN got its hands on, $2 billion was more than the Clippers’ actual worth.

Ballmer’s $2 billion final bid is 12.1 times the expected 2014 revenues of the team, according to the numbers given to the bidders by Bank of America, which conducted the sale on behalf of the Sterling trust. . .

“No team in the history of sports has sold for six times total revenues, so that should give you an idea of how crazy this purchase price is,” said a sports banker who was not involved in the transaction.

While money might have been a non-issue for the tech mogul and he would have paid the figure regardless, Sterling deserves serious credit for closing a huge deal — particularly after rising above her disgraced husband’s racist antics that cost him the team.

“I was given the task and I did it,” Sterling said. “I just did what I had to do.”

[AP]

TIME fashion

In Defense of Barack Obama’s Tan Suit

President Obama Makes Statement In The Briefing Room Of White House
No matter what anyone says, this is not an image worthy of controversy. Alex Wong—Getty Images

Just because the President wore a suit that wasn't a shade of gray or blue doesn't mean you should have a problem with it

Let’s make this much clear: there is nothing wrong, wild or crazy about a tan suit. This may come as a shock to those who expressed outrage at President Obama’s choice of attire yesterday, but not all suits come in a shade of gray or navy. In fact, as colors outside of those two go, tan is rather plain and simple. As for the suit itself, the lapels are in their typical three-inch range, it’s not tailored any better than his other suits (at least from the navel up) and the American flag pin is in its usual location. The tan suit is just another suit that happens to be a slightly different color than the ones he normally wears. It was, in no way, a fashion statement.

Here is a brief list of fashion choices that would have been “bold” or “wack-ass” that the President could have made yesterday:

  1. T-shirt with suit and sleeves rolled up (aka the “Miami Vice“).
  2. Whatever Austin Mahone was wearing at the VMAs.
  3. Crocs.

But the President did not wear any of those things. Nor did he wear a three-piece suit, a seersucker suit or a white suit. Hell, he didn’t even opt for the Reagan mullet suit (business on the top, lounging on the bottom).

Perhaps the only curious thing about Obama’s suit selection was its timing. Not the fact that he wore it during the summer time (that’s when you should be wearing a tan suit, if at any time), but that he wore it while discussing crucial issues of foreign policy with the press. It was a somber occasion, and there’s apparently a certain expectation of precisely how the President’s attire should match the mood.

It’s tough to argue with that point. When discussing serious matters, there’s no reason not to be dressed accordingly. (Though one could hardly be forgiven for wondering why those criticizing Obama for discussing serious matters in improper attire are focused on that attire rather than the issues they’ve deemed so serious.) The larger problem lies in the expectations that Obama had previously created. In this 2012 Vanity Fair profile, Michael Lewis quotes Obama saying the following: “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits… I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

So for the last six years, that’s pretty much all we’ve seen him in. Gray or blue, charcoal or navy, day after day after day until seeing him out of that particular uniform (other than athletic attire) became tantamount to seeing a performer out of costume.

The irony is that the President is often criticized for being bland, even in his fashion choices. To be frank, after yesterday’s outcry, who can blame him? Next time you or anyone asks the Commander-in-Chief for a little personality or originality, don’t be surprised if this is cited as a reason for declining that request.

The choice in tie, on the other hand, that’s a little more difficult to defend…

TIME Education

Napping Around: Colleges Provide Campus Snooze Rooms

Getty Images

Michigan put cots in a library and is testing out a high-tech chair designed for napping, while James Madison is adding more bean bags to a nap room in the student center.

In college, the best grades are usually considered to be the product of sleepless nights. Now, universities nationwide are setting up designated rooms for napping or expanding existing spaces to show students that they don’t have to sacrifice sleep to do top work.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is the latest school to make headlines for piloting a napping station through fall 2014. In the walk-up to finals on April 23, 2014, six vinyl cots and disposable pillowcases were placed on the first floor of the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library, which is open 24/7. First-come, first-serve, with a 30-minute time limit on snoozing, the area was the brainchild of rising senior Adrian Bazbaz, 23, an aerospace engineering major who came up with the idea as a member of U-M Central Student Government after watching countless students fall asleep in front of the library computers. “They’ll just put their backpacks on the table and lie on them,” he says.

An April 29, 2014 photo shows the napping station that was implemented at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Daily, Allison Farrand – AP

Ryan DeAngelis, 21, a senior majoring in neuroscience and philosophy, used the napping station twice during finals, each time around 12:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m. for about 20 minutes while writing a 12-page paper about metaphysics. Even though he lives on campus, he says the library setup helped him get the job done because he was in a place where the people around him were studying.

“It forces you to stay there,” he adds. “You’re going to wake up in 20 minutes and keep working, but if you go back to the dorm, you’re tempted to fall asleep and then maybe procrastinate ‘til the morning.”

Pod Life

In August, the library started testing out a MetroNaps Energy Pod, a futuristic chair designed for napping, and is thinking about ordering more, according to Stephen Griffes, Operations Supervisor. Popularized by Google, it keeps the sleeper’s legs elevated, and a dome on top ensures privacy. Users can either select the pre-programmed 20-minute nap cycle or customize the duration. And they can listen to soothing music as the machine gently vibrates.

“We are seeing a lot of interest, in particular, from large universities, those with significant commuter student bodies, and graduate medical institutions,” according to an email statement from Christopher Lindholst, who co-founded MetroNaps with Arshad Chowdhury. “Typically the installations go into campus centers and/or the libraries, except in graduate medical institutions where they go directly into the teaching hospitals.”

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has maintained two EnergyPods for commuter students at each of its Savannah and Atlanta campuses since 2006 and is adding four to its Hong Kong campus this fall. At Saint Leo University in Central Florida, the residence hall Apartment 5 maintains four in a “relaxation room” intended for the 30% of students who commute.

Amanda Brown, 21, a senior elementary education major, naps every day around noon in the relaxation room at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida. Benjamin C. Watters, courtesy of Saint Leo University

But the cost of the pods, which ranges between $9,995 and $12,985 (depending on the model features), may be too steep for some schools. In March 2014, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi installed a less expensive $4,000 “sleep pod” made by the U.K. company PodTime in the Island Hall Gym. Students sign up for a 30-minute interval, grab a sheet and then climb into what basically looks like a white tube with a vinyl mattress inside.

A Room of One’s Own

While Google maps of the University of Texas-Austin, University of California-San Diego, UC-Santa-Barbara, UC-Davis, and Macalester College review the best places to snooze on campus based on noise levels and foot traffic, some students appreciate the privacy that nap rooms afford.

“I used to go into the library and find a comfy chair in between classes to close my eyes for a while, but I always felt awkward sleeping in front of people,” says Meredith Pilcher, 22, a senior graphic design major at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Va., who, at least twice a week, would doze off on a giant bean bag while listening to classical music in a place called “The Nap Nook.” The room on the first floor of the school’s Festival Conference and Student Center opened in September 2013 with six black, microsuede bean bags and antimicrobial pillows that students could reserve online in 40-minute intervals.

Since more and more students seem to be using it – 2,500 naps were taken there between September 2013 and May 2014 – two white noise machines are being added, plus two more bean bags and faux leather covers for them so that they’re easier to wipe down.

“Heavy workloads make you choose between an A and sleep, and I wanted to change the perception that napping was a lazy behavior,” says Caroline Cooke, 22, who founded The Nap Nook at JMU when she was a senior psychology major.

Health Benefits of Napping

Sara Mednick, assistant professor at University of California-Riverside and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, says catching some z’s can boost productivity. In fact, she says the most productive kind of nap is a 60-90 minute one taken 8-9 hours after waking up: “Ninety minutes affords you all of the different sleep stages shown to be important for cognition, memorization, creativity, basic motor skills and the ability to make decisions in a clever way.”

Understanding that many students are also sleep-deprived because they stay up too late socializing, Mednick argues, “Napping is a survival mechanism for college. It’s probably how students get a lot of their stamina to deal with this insane, 24/7 lifestyle that they’re suddenly thrust into after being home with their parents.”

And no matter how many sodas from the vending machine and cups of coffee college students chug from the cafeteria, caffeine cannot make them feel as rested as well as a nap. “The boost you get from caffeine is good for 15-20 minutes up to a half hour, but sleep is actually taking the recent information that you’ve learned and filing it away for you so you can more effectively take in new information,” says Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

There’s even research that suggests sleep can be the difference between passing and failing out of school. A study published online in the journal Sleep this summer found sleep-deprived undergraduates were more likely to get worse grades and drop a course than their well-rested fellow students. Poor sleep was found to be as powerful as binge drinking, and more powerful than marijuana, in predicting who would have academic problems, according to co-authors Roxanne Prichard and Monica Hartmann, professors at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Colleges provide resources about hand-washing, drugs, alcohol, to help students stay healthy, but they’re not doing as much to address poor sleep,” says Prichard.

The Future of Nap Rooms

As colleges and universities compete for state-of-the-art amenities, encouraging drowsy students to nod off in a separate room arguably keeps campus buildings looking spiffy, and thus more appealing to prospective students. As Glenn Wallace, SCAD’s Senior Vice President for University Resources, put it, “No one wants to walk around and see people laying on the floor with their mouths open.”

Now what do parents, the people who foot most of the ever-rising bills for college, think about paying for napping pods or rooms? Shortly after Cristina Ley, 21, dozed off at Michigan’s napping station during finals, she was woken up by a phone call from her mom, whom she had been venting to earlier in the night about the stress of writing a paper. “She was like, ‘What do you mean you’re napping in the library?’ And I told her about it, and she was like, ‘Oh that’s really cool!'”

 

 

TIME psychology

6 Things to Do to Improve Your Relationship

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Getty Images

In the past I’ve covered the research regarding what you should look for in a marriage partner.

What do studies say about what you can do to improve your relationship?

Excitement

Divorce may have less to do with an increase in conflict and more to do with a decrease in positive feelings. Boredom really can hurt a relationship:

Being bored with the marriage undermines closeness, which in turn reduces satisfaction, Orbuch said.

“It suggests that excitement in relationships facilitates or makes salient closeness, which in turn promotes satisfaction in the long term,” she said.

We spend a lot of time trying to reduce conflict but not enough time experiencing thrills. And the latter may be more important.

Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being:

Shelly Gable, professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has demonstrated that how you celebrate is more predictive of strong relations than how you fight.

The research points again and again to how important thrills are:

  • Think a pleasant evening is all it takes? Researchers did a 10 week study comparing couples that engaged in “pleasant” activities vs “exciting” activities. Pleasant lost.

So do something exciting. Go dancing together or anything else you can both participate in as a couple.

Let Yourself Be A Little Deluded With Love

Being a little deluded helps marriages:

…people who were unrealistically idealistic about their partners when they got married were more satisfied with their marriage three years later than less idealistic people.

And it’s not just true for marriages:

…relationship illusions predicted greater satisfaction, love, and trust, and less conflict and ambivalence in both dating and marital relationships. A longitudinal follow-up of the dating sample revealed that relationships were more likely to persist the stronger individuals’ initial illusions.

5 to 1

Keep that ratio in mind. You need five good things for every bad thing in order to keep a happy relationship:

A 2.9: 1 means you are headed for a divorce. You need a 5: 1 ratio to predict a strong and loving marriage— five positive statements for every critical statement you make of your spouse.

And when you’re dealing with your mother-in-law the ratio is 1000 to 1. I’m not kidding.

Be Conscientious

Conscientiousness is the trait most associated with marital satisfaction:

…our findings suggest that conscientiousness is the trait most broadly associated with marital satisfaction in this sample of long-wed couples.

Actually, you can kill a lot of birds with this one stone because it’s also associated with longevity, income, job satisfaction and health.

Gratitude

Gratitude can be a booster shot for a relationship:

…gratitude had uniquely predictive power in relationship promotion, perhaps acting as a booster shot for the relationship.

It can even create a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop:

Thus, the authors’ findings add credence to their model, in that gratitude contributes to a reciprocal process of relationship maintenance, whereby each partner’s maintenance behaviors, perceptions of responsiveness, and feelings of gratitude feed back on and influence the other’s behaviors, perceptions, and feelings.

Try

Sounds silly but it’s true. Want a better relationship? Try.

Sounds ridiculous but:

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

The Science Of “Happily Ever After”: 3 Things That Keep Love Alive

What are the four things that kill relationships?

What are the 5 things that make love last?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

TIME Opinion

Why Kirsten Gillibrand Should Keep Her Harassers’ Names Secret

She knows who they are, and they know she knows. America is half female, and a third obese. Checkmate.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) revealed in a new book excerpt Wednesday that some male colleagues had called her “porky,” “chubby” and “fat.” Naturally, a shocked and offended public is demanding her harassers be brought to justice. Get the pitchforks! And the regular forks! Specifically, some male journalists are asking that Gillibrand name names, because they are so deeply concerned with curbing sexual harassment in American government:

Even I tweeted yesterday that we should try to guess the culprits, before I realized that that information is infinitely more valuable if it’s kept a secret.

Kay Steiger at Talking Points Memo wrote Thursday that demanding the names suggests we don’t believe Gillibrand, or we’re telling her not to speak out unless she goes whole hog with total transparency. Besides, she rightly points out, men who harass women rarely face major consequences.

But there’s another reason Gillibrand shouldn’t reveal the name of the colleague who told her not to lose weight because “I like my girls chubby.” It’s a total power move. She knows who they are. They know she knows. Checkmate.

Which means somewhere on Capitol Hill, the hapless male Senator who called Gillibrand “porky” is probably cowering in his office, running that interaction in his head over and over again. “How can I spin this?” he’s thinking, “Could I make this about Michelle Obama’s fat-kids-thing? Could I say I was making a point about pork-barrel spending? Where is Olivia Pope when you need her?” Sweat is pouring off his brow, he’s wiping his forehead with his red-and-blue tie, he’s trying desperately to remember whether he pinched her arm or her butt that one time in the House gym. If Gillibrand exposes him, he’ll have a tough time winning over pretty big portion of the electorate: women (more than 50% of the U.S. population) and fat people (more than a third of all Americans.)

Suddenly, a text appears on his phone. “Hey Porker” and then, as a quick follow-up, “;)” He’s in Gillibrand’s house now.

Now, if Gillibrand’s bill to revamp sexual assault reporting in the military comes to the floor again, she can count on a vote from Mr. “Porky.” Need some muscle on a bill to protect contraceptive rights? The guy who called her “Honey Badger” will lend a hand. Maybe the genius who called her the “hottest member of the Senate” could vote with her on climate change.

Even Nancy Pelosi says that Gillibrand’s decision whether to name her harasser is her decision, “but the fact is they know who they are.” Burn.

Revealing her harassers would satisfy our curiosity and expose some senators for the jerks they are, but it’s much better in the long run for Gillibrand to keep their names secret. Exposure could cause some political turmoil for her colleagues, but Steiger is right that it’s more likely to blow over without costing anyone their seat. The more powerful choice is to describe the harassment without naming names, generate public outrage about the treatment of women in government and then use it to persuade the guilty parties to vote the way she wants them to.

Besides, like most scandals, an element of secrecy adds to the power of the charge, and makes Gillibrand seem more dignified. If she appeared on the cover of People next to a block quote that said, “Senator So-and-So Called Me Fat!” she could risk being seen as whiney or petty, and the story could quickly devolve into tabloid fodder. This way, she holds all the cards and maintains control of her image.

It’s what Olivia Pope would do.

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