I have not yet met a couple who has it all together, but I have met many couples who work hard to make their relationship frickin’ awesome. We are not taught this stuff, so maybe by looking at what works for others we can try it on for size and see if it works for us. Having explored the findings of over 40 years of research from the Gottman Institute with thousands of couples, below are habits of those they call… the Masters.
Couples who play together stay together.
Couples with great relationships have great friendships. They know what’s going on in each other’s world, know their partner’s dreams; fears; favourite animal. They know what gets the other giggling and that, tomorrow, an extra big hug would be appreciated before facing a challenging day. There is a love map in their brain for their sweetie pie, but more, this information is updated over time as they remain curious and continue asking questions. Turning towards each other, bids for connection are recognised and reciprocated. They laugh, play and have fun together. Friendship acts as a buffer to stress and gives resilience to conflict.
Couples who win, fight for each other not against one another.
Couples with great relationships fight fairly – dealing with conflict effectively. Since about 60% of conflict is perpetual, has no solution, they negotiate a mutual position:
Having two different perspectives, one can identify what is non-negotiable and find the larger list of areas of flexibility. Using the zone of flexibility partners can meet each other in the middle.
They deal with conflict lovingly, openly and even use humour; ensuring a soft introduction to the discussion. Showing affection in the face of conflict, they recognise when things are escalating and make attempts to repair, plus they reciprocate repair attempts from their partner. Each accepts that their darling has influence over them. When things get heated, they sooth, knowing that they are on the same team and they can only win if both are winning. Couples who get to a deeper level of connection recognise that their partner may have a dream underlying this conflict that is not being fulfilled. Such recognition gets one to a place of understanding.
The universe that is your coupledom
Couples with great relationships create shared meaning. Developing security within their relationship grants them the feeling of freedom individually. They know and support each other’s dreams. They communicate and align shared dreams. Creating the bigger picture, a culture is nurtured around their relationship, with symbols, stories and rituals for connection. Like a good business is driven by a mission statement, these couples follow their family mission– giving purpose, meaning and a vision that propels them into the future they desire.
Play together. Laugh together. Connect. Be intimate. Touch. Nurture and recharge that spark… that desire.
Value the individual. Value your partnership. Let conflict be an opportunity to go a little deeper.
Be fulfilled. Create the type of future you both want, even if there is no script for it yet.