Predicting Relationship Stability
We have learned from the Gottman research what works in relationships. Relationship happiness occurs when couples establish a close friendship on a day-by-day basis. Increased intimacy sets the stage for a greater ability to manage conflict.
One of the best ways to strengthen relationships is for partners to agree to identify what is working well and what needs attention.
It Starts with Increasing Positivity
Healthy relationships are characterized by partners who take time to notice what they appreciate about each other and their relationship. They remember to put those appreciations into words. This positivity works to put deposits into the emotional bank account. The higher the balance, the stronger the relationship. There are plenty of opportunities to express these appreciations. The question sometimes boils down to noticing those moments and actually telling the partner.
It may be surprising to know that conflict creates opportunities for greater intimacy. However, it depends how the conflict is managed. Partners who express what isn’t working and what would work better provide the recipe for success. This openness provides connection if the partner feels listened and responded to. If the focus is on the complaint rather than the solution, then success is less likely. Talking about working toward something is better than staying stuck talking about what isn’t working.
I was interviewed by Dr. Lisa Bobby on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. We delve into the subject “How to Get Your Needs Met in a Relationship”.
I discuss Gottman relationship research and tools for addressing difficult issues. We cover a range of topics to how to express needs, and provide strategies to help address those needs and to strengthen the relationship. For example, we can predict with 96% accuracy how conversations will end based on how they start (in the podcast I mistakenly said 86%). Learning these tools helps both partners to express needs without blame, accusation or defensiveness.