An unsexy fact: healthy relationships take effort—a lot of it. It’s why we often wish our love life came with an instruction manual. And it’s why we were pumped to see The New York Times tackle the topic in one of their new handy guides: How to have a better relationship.


The five-part guide covers the latest research on everything from love, sex and infidelity to navigating children, money and learning to fight fair. The best part? It comes with science-backed quizzes with helpful advice you can actually use to gain insights and improve your partnerships. A standout gem comes from Dr. Hatfield of the University of Hawaii on increasing satisfaction in the bedroom through communication. Her advice:


“1. Find two pieces of paper and two pens

2. Now, sit down with your partner so that each of you can write down five things you want more of during sex with your partner. The answers shouldn’t be detailed sex acts (although that’s fine if it’s important to you). Ideally, your answers should focus on behaviors you desire – being talkative, romantic, tender, experimental or adventurous.”


The biggest discrepancy between men and women is often where sexual desire begins, according to Hatfield’s research.


“Men wanted their wives to initiate sex more often and be less inhibited in the bedroom. But for women, behavior outside the bedroom also mattered. They wanted their partner to be warmer, helpful in their lives, and they wanted love and compliments both in and out of the bedroom.”


Get the full story at The New York Times