Did you read the fascinating article in the New York Times on Tuesday about how expressing your feelings in marriage is as important for your health as quitting smoking or reducing your cholesterol?! The research, based on a comprehensive study of over 4,000 men and women, reports a most stunning finding: Wives who keep quiet during arguments with their husbands are 4 times more likely to die than women who speak their minds.

Although the study and article is worth reading in full, what do we think? Being “silent” too often in your marriage takes a toll not only on your immune system, but will eventually take a nasty toll on your marriage, too. What happy couples do, on the contrary, is develop safe and productive ways to express their gripes, complaints, and/or irritations with each other. Frequently. Routinely. Warmly. And in a way that actually invites the complaint instead of avoids it. Does that give your a free pass to bicker and criticize? Not exactly. What it does suggest is that if you aren’t currently doing so, you might want to develop a ritual (or two) that will encourage each person in your relationship to share what they really think (the good, bad, and … yes … the ugly too). It seems a complaint or two a day can keep the Dr. away!