Good news, gents: Pillow talk doesn’t have to be just erotic pre- and post-sex whispers with your special lady friend.

And as it turns out, any uplifting conversation will not only strengthen your relationship—it’ll also help your body dodge age-related disease spurred by anxiety, a lack of sleep, and inactivity, as well as set you up for a more restful night's sleep and less stress overall.

In new study out of Washington’s Gonzaga University, researchers analyzed the relationships of 162 post-9/11 military couples living in Oregon—men and women who, as you might imagine, face daily psychological and physiological obstacles—to gauge loneliness, intimacy, sleep quality, and responsiveness to good news.

Ultimately, they discovered that when couples shared not just big news (like a job promotion), but also small, seemingly inconsequential, positive moments from their day (like a mind-blowing Monte Cristo sandwich they'd enjoyed together), they felt closer to each other and more supported.

One huge caveat, however: The relationship was bolstered only when a partner got an optimistic reaction to the news he or she delivered. "When you share something good, and the recipient of information is actively happy for you, it heightens the positive experience for both parties," study author Sarah Arpin explained. "However, when someone 'rains on your parade,' that can have negative consequences." 

The main takeaway: Swat away the perpetual storm cloud over your head and bring a few sunny stories to bed instead. And not for nothing, but you could cheer her on a little more when she does the same.

Sound doable? Then you’ll like these 3 more secrets of happy couples in long-term relationships.

So yeah: You're feeling grateful that your girlfriend kindly took the time to hem your favorite pants so you could stop MacGyver-ing them with staples?

Then you’ve got the material for some honest, intimate bedtime chats with your lady that will help plate your relationship in armor—and more.