In my last post I wrote about increasing the vitality of your relationship with a few simple tools. Our closest relationships are our best opportunity to grow as a person and also know and be known by another person. We all want to be heard, loved, seen, appreciated and valued. John Gottman, a professor of psychology and a researcher in marriage and relationships offers us many ways to help us interact within our relationships in a healthy meaningful way. John Gottman has written two wonderful books: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and The Relationship Cure.
“Gottman’s research showed that it wasn’t only how couples fought that mattered, but how they made up. Marriages became stable over time if couples learned to reconcile successfully after a fight.”[1)
Gottman, through his research, came up with a model that he could predict when a couple would get divorced. They would often criticize their partners personality, show contempt, be defensive or stonewall the other person rather than handling conflicts in a positive, supportive more gentle way. (2) His marriage therapy aims to increase respect, affection, and closeness in couples and help them resolve conflict in a healthy manner.
So what are some things you can do?
Asking, “How are you? Really….” Taking the time to show that you really care, want to know, and are very interested.
Using the word Thank you often and in a meaningful way.
Listening….to jokes, stories you’ve heard many times over, concerns, good news
Being spontaneous! Go out for that cup of coffee, lunch, and meet to walk home together and talk
Remember important occasions – pay attention
Offer help or time “off” if they need it. Take the kids out by yourself to give them a needed break for instance.
Help each other.
Support one another.
Ask for advice and give advice if asked for.
Say your sorry if you need to and mean it.
Do things together: cook, exercise, and do fun activities, volunteer
Give hugs! Really give hugs! Hold on for at least a minute to feel the positive resonance become enhanced and release the oxytocin!
Compliment each other. We all need to hear nice things and be recognized.
Laugh A LOT together! Laughter is known to be one of the best medicines out there.
Contact each other during the day. A phone call, text, stay in touch.
Share your full self. Dreams, passions, cry if you need to. Hold the space for one another. You don’t always need to have a ‘solution’ or the ‘answer’ just being there is often good enough.
All of these small, but significant actions build a bond in any relationship. As a Life Coach I like to take the time to focus on what is going well in your relationship, what you love about your partner, and look at ways you can nurture each other.
Here is video where John Gottman is discussing The Truth about Great Relationships.
1.“The Top 10: The Most Influential Therapists of the Past Quarter-Century”. Psychotherapy Networker. 2007. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
2.“Research FAQs”. The Gottman Relationship Institute. Retrieved 21 March 2012.