As many of you know, I have been trained to use the Gottman Method when I counsel couples. This is a well researched method. Dr. Gottman's have done 40 years of research in using this method. Sometimes, people wonder, 'why research relationships?' Believe, it or not, there is a science to relationships. After 40 years of research, Dr. Gottman's have discovered the 5 to 1 ratio, also known as the magic ratio in a relationship. This is where it will take five positive interactions to erase one negative interaction in a relationship. Dr. Gottman's have discovered that negative interactions have a greater impact on a relationship than positive interactions. What this means, is that your relationship doesn't have to be a war about negativity, that you can learn from the negative interactions in your relationship by having a dialogue about them. Dr. Gottman's research suggests, what really separates the happy couples from the miserable couples is a healthy balance between their positive and negative interactions. All couples have different styles of approaching conflict - some yell, while others retreat to separate corners of their home. Neither style is doomed when couples have what is called, the Positive Sentiment Override. Here are five tips to help improve the Positive Sentiment Override in your relationship:
- Smile. When greeting your partner for the first time of the day, meet them with a genuine smile. Remember, it's not what you say it's how you say it. Say it nice.
- Pitch in. When you see something needs to be done around the house, just do it. Rather than waiting for your partner to tell you to do it, or just hoping they won't notice. For example, you notice the laundry is still in the dryer and your spouse is not home. Surprise your partner and fold the clothes and put them away.
- Think positive thoughts about one another, while you are away from one another. For example, think about how hard your spouse is working at work and how much time they prepared for an important presentation.
- Remember the good times. Think about the wonderful hike you went on this past weekend, or how good your spouse is with the children, even when you feel they are out of control. Think about your spouses calm temperament during stressful times.
- State one positive statement to one another before you depart for the day. For example, I really like your work ethic, I like your willingness to be helpful around the house, or you are very attractive.