Key Formula To A Successful Relationship According To Experts

Date December 1, 2017

No couple's relationship is immune to conflict; be they arguments about little things such as who will wash the dishes or larger ones, such as infertility. Unfortunately, constant arguments are the reason for most separations and divorces.

But according to Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Robert Levenson, there is a formula for discovering which couples are happy and which are unhappy. So, it can determine if a relationship will be successful or not in the future.

They began by performing longitudinal studies of couples in the 1970s. In these studies, they asked couples to resolve a conflict in their relationship within 15 minutes, while researchers observed their interactions. After carefully going over the tapes and following up with participants 9 years later, they were able to predict which couples were still together and which couples were divorced with over 90% accuracy.

How did they do it?

The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during a conflict. It's a very specific kind of relationship which results in everlasting love. That "magical proportion" is 5 to 1. This means that, for every negative interaction during a conflict, a stable and happy couple has five (or more) positive interactions.

Specialists confirm that, while anger is definitely a negative interaction and a natural reaction during any conflict, it isn't necessarily harmful to a marriage. Dr. Gottman explains in his book, "Why was my marriage a success or failure" that “anger only has negative effects on a marriage if it is expressed together with criticism, contempt or defensiveness.”

Since negative interactions have a lot of emotional power and can easily damage the other partner, Dr. Gottman makes it clear that 5 positive actions are needed for every negative one in order to neutralize the negatives.

What are positive interactions?

  • showing interest;
  • expressing affection;
  • showing that you care;
  • intentional appreciation;
  • finding opportunities to reach an agreement;
  • saying sorry;
  • accepting your partner's perspective;
  • relaxing and joking about it.

So the secret formula for a healthy relationship is to keep this healthy 5:1 ratio. Kindness, love, and respect form the basis of a happy, long-lasting relationship. Have you ever heard of this formula?

Source: The Gottman Institute 

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