Psychologist John Gottman loves making a trick: he watches how a couple communicates with each other and he can predict with almost one hundred percent probability, whether they will be happy together over the years or whether their relationship has no future. It sounds incredible, but Gottman spend 40 years on research.
“Happy couples primarily see the positive in each other, something for which we can say thank you, hug and just enjoy what life has brought with such a wonderful person – says Gottman. – They purposefully build relationships of respect and gratitude. Unhappy couples, on the contrary, all the time looking for something, find faults in the partner, catch each his or her mistake. ”
Gottman and his wife, Julie, also a psychologist, are among the world’s most renowned experts on marriage. For several decades, they have advised thousands of couples and conducted hundreds of experiments to find out the secret of a happy marriage. The most interesting experiment Gottman called “Laboratory of love.”
Experiment “Laboratory of Love”
They invited honeymooners to the lab, connected electrodes to them and asked them to tell the story of their relationship – where they met, which was the most terrible quarrel, what happy event was the most memorable. The researchers observed how they communicate with each other and the electrodes measured the blood flow, heart rate and other physiological responses of participants. Then the newlyweds were sent home, and six years laterthey contacted them again to find out whether they are together or not.
Based on the collected data, Gottman divided couples into two large groups: happy and unhappy. The first managed to maintain a happy marriage after six years. The second separated or lived together, but suffered. When the researchers analyzed the data, they found a clear difference between the first and the second group.
Future unhappy couple looked relaxed, talking about their relationship, but the reaction of the organism measured by electrodes, said the opposite. Heart beat quickened, they sweated, blood flow was fast. By all indications, their bodies work in a mode of primitive response to fear – “fight or flight”. In other words, on the proximity and simple conversation with someone they loved their body reacted as if it was face to face with a saber-toothed tiger. Even when they were talking about pleasant or minor things in their relationship, they were waiting for an attack by a partner or were preparing to attack. Gottman found a pattern: the more actively body responds, the sooner their relationship will be destroyed with time.
The main reason for divorce is neglection
Gottman found that the main reason for divorce is contempt and disregard for the partner. Those of us who are looking for the slightest excuse to criticize and not used to responding with respect to partner requests , miss 50% of the positive things and see the negative where it isn’t. They kill not only their love, but also in the literal sense their beloved – the constant criticism from important people weakens our immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and oncology. Anger and indifference means the death of the relationship.
On the contrary, kindness, warmth, tenderness and care enhance the incredible affection for each other, and over the years it only gets stronger. Studies show that kindness – the most important indicator of the stability of marriage. Good attitude gives us the opportunity to feel loved – we understand, appreciate, care about us.
You can think of kindness as of a trate of character: either you have it or you do not. In fact, says Gottman, kindness is arranged like a muscle – the more we exercise it, the stronger it is. In other words, if you work on your relationship, so they’re always in a form – so do loving couple.
Of course, the most difficult is to show kindness in quarrels and conflicts, but it is the most important time to be kind. When we experience a fall, our family should be a soft feather bed, which is not hard to fall on. It’s easy to destroy a relationship with evil words.
“Being good does not mean that we have to hide our anger, – says Julie Gottman. – Rather, kindness dictates how to express best. Instead of showering partner with abuses, you can explain why you are in pain and you are angry. For Example,
instead, “What’s wrong with you, late again! ”
You can say, “I hate to say it, and I know it’s not your fault, but I’m really terribly enragy with you late again.”
It’s very important how we communicate with each other every day. One of the ways to practice kindness to each other – actively look for a reason to thank your beloved for anything during the day and not to focus on the negative (“Dirty dishes!”, “Late again!”). Do not think badly about the partner, if he or she made a mistake.
Another powerful tool to strengthen the relationship is to share partner’s joy. The problem of unhappy couples often consists in the fact that that they can not be happy for each other. “Can you imagine, I got promoted!” – “Yeah, well, I have to run.” To be together and share the joy of success of a loved one is as important as to be close during the bad times.