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Holly Robinson Peete Swears This 20-Second Ritual Has Kept Her Marriage Strong After 26 Years

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Actress and First for Women cover star Holly Robinson Peete lives a busy life between taking care of her family, continuously building her career, and dedicating herself to causes she cares about, like caregiving for those with Parkinson’s disease and autism. But on top of all that she has going on, she maintains a strong relationship with her husband Rodney. In fact, the two just celebrated 26 years of marriage in June, and they couldn’t be happier.

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What’s their secret? The 21 Jump Street star and her husband follow a piece of advice they once received called the 20-second hug. “The rule is you have to give each other a hug for 20 full seconds when one or the other asks for it no matter what you’re feeling in that moment,” she explains to First for Women. “There’s something about the first 15 seconds [that] are just being held, but after that, the pheromones take over and it really works for us.”

Peete says the method is great not just for situations when one of them is individually struggling but also when they may be in the midst of a confrontation as a couple. “If we’re in a conflict or any kind of stressful situation, when we pull out our 20-second hug card, which isn’t a lot, it works for us, and I think it’s helped resolve and get past some really stressful moments,” she continues.

The science definitely backs Robinson Peete up. Hugs and other forms of cuddling release oxytocin throughout your body, making you feel happier in the process. Not to mention, hugs allow us to feel a greater range of emotions and feel more vulnerable with other people —which can both help to keep a relationship solid over time. What wonderful advice!

Don’t forget to pick up the latest issue of First for Women’s print magazine (buy on newsstands now or on Magazine Shop, $3.49) to hear more about Holly Robinson Peete and her thoughts on health, gratitude, and more.

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