Improve your marriage with assistance from surprising products and devices.
What makes a marriage stronger? Sure, a romantic weekend away or a fancy dinner out is nice, but cutting down on the everyday annoyances that cause strife goes a long way, too. Take a hint from these couples. They turned to a simple product or device to help them solve an exasperating problem—and drew closer as a result. Check out eight gadgets that can help you and your marriage.
HE: Is always cold
SHE: Is always hot
SOLUTION: "We got a heating blanket last year, and it has made us both less cranky. The blanket stays on my side. It has stopped my whining about how cold I am—which was irritating him."—Lauren Gard, 32, Oakland, Calif.
HE: Loves to go to bed early
SHE: Loves to stay up late
SOLUTION: "We used to argue over the lights. He’d go around shutting them off, and I’d follow behind, turning them back on. So I asked him to put my sleep mask over his eyes. That suggestion changed our lives—it’s a miracle mask!"—Lesley Dwyer, 33, Sarasota, Fla.
TRY IT: Sleep masks at Target
HE: Sleeps with the TV on
SHE: Can't sleep if it's on all night
SOLUTION: "We have a TV in our bedroom with a timer setting. When [my husband] is in the bathroom brushing his teeth, I grab the remote and set the timer, and he is none the wiser! I set it for the amount of time it takes him to drift off to sleep. Then the TV clicks off, and we are both happy and getting good rest!"—Cathi Carpenter, 44, Marietta, Ga.
HE: Drives on road trips
SHE: Is a backseat driver
SOLUTION: "I have trouble knowing north from south, east from west. To stop the arguing and save our relationship, we bought a GPS device. It turned out to be one of the best purchases we’ve made. We arrive at our destination with a lot less aggravation."—Enid Schwartz, 65, Sierra Vista, Ariz.
HE: Works late hours
SHE: Worries about his safety
SOLUTION: "I used to lie in bed at night and worry that [my husband] was dead in a ditch somewhere. Then I’d be angry when he got home because he’d made me fret. That was a huge strain on both of us. Now that we have cell phones, I can check in with him anytime and make sure he’s OK."—Sally Bamberger, 32, Whittemore, Mich.
HE: Easily loses his car keys, wallet and phone
SHE: Is tired of spending 15 minutes every morning looking for them
SOLUTION: "I bought a basket for the shelf right inside the door. I told him it was the new home for all the stuff in his pockets. It took about a week for him to get the hang of it, but three years later, he is still using it."—Amber Bell, 29, Stockton, Calif.
HE: Leaves drawers half-open all the time
SHE: Hates open drawers; they drive her crazy
SOLUTION: "The room looked messy, and I was always afraid I was going to hurt myself. Finally, I found drawer slides that automatically pull drawers closed gently and quietly when you push. They can be installed in any drawer."—Jessica Reed, 30, Canfield, Ohio
HE: Likes cooking with cast iron
SHE: Won't let him use cast iron on their glass-top electric stove
SOLUTION: "My husband really wanted an outdoor gas camp stove, so for Christmas I got him one. Now I let him buy as much cast iron as he wishes. It may be extra money, but it is well worth the price if it gets him to cook once in a while!"—April Harmon, 35, Martinsville, Ill.