With 27 years of marriage under their belts, Michael J. Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, have one of the strongest celebrity marriages. How have they maintained their relationship through so many years of ups and downs – and are there any strategies the rest of us can take away from their success? Pollan told People magazine earlier this week that it boils down to one thing: "Giving each other the benefit of the doubt."
"There are so many times when you have arguments, when you have things come up, and it really doesn't have anything to do with what he did, or said – it's how I am projecting that onto myself," she explained.
"A lot of times he'll just say to me, 'You know who I am, would I ever say anything to try to hurt your feelings? Just give me the benefit of the doubt.' "
Of course, having a sense of humor and strong committment to your partner doesn't hurt, either. "You just have [to have] the perspective that you're behind each other's back – and it helps if you can make each other laugh," she said.
Pollan's point about not jumping to negative conclusions is backed up by research: psychologists have found that couples who are kind and generous about their partner's intentions, and don't look for negativity when it isn't there, experience greater happiness in their relationships. Long-married couples also indicate that open communication and a mindset that marriage is an unbreakable committment are key to a successful union.
There is a right and wrong way to fight. Our expert's advice: try a little tenderness. Discover strategies for healthy arguing all couples should know before tying the knot.
Opening photo by LiquidLight Images