Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are one of our favourite celebrity couples, not least because of their hilarious anecdotes about one another.
Now, in a candid new interview, Lively has revealed the brilliantly simple secret to the pair’s happy marriage – and it’s all to do with treating her husband like a girlfriend.
Speaking to Glamour magazine, Lively shares: “In other relationships, if something came up I would call my girlfriends or my sister, and say, ‘Hey, this is what he did – what should I do?’
“Whereas with him, we were friends for two years before we were ever dating. And I treat him like my girlfriend.”
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Which, yes, boils down to simply being friends. And the Gossip Girl actor goes on to explain that this doesn’t just mean trotting out the whole “Oh, my partner is my best friend as well as my lover” thing, but actually treating him like one and opening up to him as she does with her besties – letting him know how she’s feeling, what made her feel that way and why.
“I’m like, ‘Hey, this happened. It upset me. This is how I feel. What do I do?’”
The process works because she says Reynolds – whom Lively married in 2012 – follows her example.
“He does the same for me,” she says. “He treats me like his best buddy.”
By approaching arguments as friends, rather than lovers, Lively and Reynolds are no doubt able to avoid “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” – a term coined by John Gottman, a professor of psychology who specialises in marital stability.
- Criticism (framing complaints in the context of a defect in your partner)
- Contempt (name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humour)
- Defensiveness (making excuses to explain away your actions)
- Stonewalling (withdrawing from a conversation, even if physically present)
Gottman also encourages couples to stop using the word “you” in arguments, and choosing instead to use the word “I” – and to work on their marriage each and every single day, rather than just when it is in trouble.
“Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went,” he says, explaining that this will help to bleed off stress from the day, and stop it from negatively affecting your relationship.
Of course, Lively made sure to point out that there are plenty of other things that go into a successful partnership. Things like, say, a wicked (and shared) sense of humour.
Addressing Reynolds’ popular Twitter feed – which often details stories about their daughters, James and Ines – Lively admitted that he makes most of his anecdotes up for comedic value.
“He may as well work for the National Enquirer,” she jokes. “When he says ‘my daughter’, he’s never ever talking about her. Everything is a completely made-up scenario.
“He’ll run them by me sometimes just to make me laugh. But, oh, I’m so in love with him when he writes that stuff. I mean, I’m in love with him most of the time, but especially with that.”
Images: Rex Features