In a lab study, for example, we were able to predict with 94% accuracy whether a marriage would last — after observing the couples for just 15 minutes. One of the biggest determining factors was how often a couple “turned toward” their partner instead of “turning away.” CNBC - 11 Nov 2022 (Gottman Method)
After a decade as a Couples Therapist, I believe that the number one determining factor as to whether your relationship will last or not comes down to ACCEPTANCE and RESPECT. This is demonstrated by you both in the amount of times you turn towards, listen to each other’s opinions and advice and are fully present with each other.
The baseline of any romantic pairing is LOVE. But often that love is not unconditional. In fact, it is because that person we are partnered with offers us things we need and traits we do not have ourselves. ‘Completing us” if you will. We fall in love with an image of who they are, but this may not be who they are. Also, we can emphasize the good when we are first in a love bubble and ignore really big red flags! Which is why, it is so vital to know who you are together with, before you move in – and like and accept who they are. This compatibility is paramount.
In Gottman Couples Counselling, this is known as Love Maps. Learning all about your partner so that you know how what they like, what is important to them, where their vulnerabilities are and to make them feel special, safe, protected, heard and respected.
A great way to learn more about your partner is with a Pre-Marriage Contract. This is a list of things that you agree on for moving forward with your relationship towards co-habitation or marriage. It is very popular in the United States. I run a 3 hour workshop for couples who are planning to move in together or get married.
This contract or list can go on the inside of a cupboard door and be used by both parties to constantly negotiate. It reduces conflict by about 44% according to statistics from the US.
Love and attraction is just the baseline folks. You have to have the acceptance, respect and will to maintain your relationship. Turn towards often. To use a metaphor, a relationship is not unlike a plant. Are you watering yours and giving it sunlight?
Ghitas' Blog August 2023
Founder of Ghita Therapy - Ghita Andersen (B.Soc.Sci: Psych & Coun; Grad Cert FDR, Hypnosis Cert.) is a professionally trained Psychotherapist, Couples Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and a Federally Accredited Family Dispute Mediator (FDRP).
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