The Can’t-Miss Scientific Approach to Making Relationships Work (Part 3)

Posted on 20-02-2019 , by: Dr. Tim. Hogan , in , , 0 Comments

Okay, enough of the touchy feely get-in-touch-with-your-childhood approach to making marriage work. It’s time for some hard science! About 40 years ago Dr. John Gottman, a brilliant social scientist, revolutionized the study of intimate partnerships. He transformed a field buried in subjective opinions (that were mostly dead wrong!) into a profession grounded in objective and life-giving truth. By scientifically studying both “masters” and “disasters” of marriage, he showed how to predict divorce with a startling 90% accuracy. More importantly, though, he identified reliable ways to make ANY relationship better. Here are three surefire ways to immediately improve your partnership from his game-changing book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work:


1. Turn toward each other instead of away.

Being positive and intentional with day-to-day interactions with our partner is far more powerful and bonding than periodic big dates or vacations. Masters of marriage have a 5 to 1 ratio of these positive mini-interactions to negative ones. When busy or stressed, instead of ignoring your partner or expressing agitation, choose to respond kindly (i.e., text them: “Thanks for calling. I’m buried and can’t talk but really look forward to talking this afternoon. Can I call you then?”)

2. Nurture fondness and admiration.

Regularly remember, write down and talk about:
• Our partner’s positive qualities and nice things they do for people, even if they do not directly affect us.
• Fun, playful, romantic and good sexual experiences we’ve had with them.

3. Handle conflict skillfully.

• Soften our startup. When there is a disagreement, start the conversation with something soft and loving, like “hey, beautiful, can we talk about what just happened? I want to understand what is going on for you.”
• Soothe ourselves and our partner. Periodically interject, “hey, thanks for having this hard conversation. I’m glad we are willing to work through this stuff. I really love you.”
• Whenever possible, receive your partner’s influence and do it their way.
• Celebrate that we are different from our partners. Gottman discovered that super happy masters of marriage never resolve a full 69% of their conflicts. This means that you can still have a great relationship without solving every difference of opinion. Let it go!


So, whether our partnership is dead and needs a miracle, or healthy and needs a little juice, why not pick two action plans from above and make your relationship better? Heck why not nurture some fondness and admiration right now with a text?!

The Harville Hendrix Game Plan for a Revolutionizing Marriage Makeover (Part 2)
How to Transform Any Relationship Without Talking About It (Part 4)
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