What's more important in life than good food, good friends and most importantly a good relationship. I think back to the first time I made pancakes. I think I was in the sixth grade and they came out runny. I put in too much milk but over time they came out better and now I can make really good pancakes. Now, think back to your first relationship. I am sure you made some mistakes. If you've been in more than one relationship, which you probably have. You may have started to notice a pattern. Perhaps, you need to make some changes. I think the biggest mistake is striving for the perfect relationship. We are human and we are going to make mistakes. We, at The Gottman Institute suggest striving for the good enough relationship. This will help take away the pressure. Here are three tips to help you reach the good enough relationship:
- Build a culture of fondness and admiration. This means knowing your partner inside and out. Ask your partner questions and answer them honestly. It's important to really know your partner. This will help build the friendship in the relationship, which is central to the relationship.
- Learn to compromise. I think this is one of the most difficult things to do in a relationship. I see it all the time in my office with couples. When you don't compromise you create the I win/we lose scenario. This will leave your partner feeling isolated. When you learn to compromise you create the win/win scenario. This will let your partner know that you respect them and also help the friendship.
- Turn towards instead of away. The Gottman's found in their research that couples are always making bids of affection towards one another. These bids go on all day. It can be a smile, eye contact, asking how your partner's day was, or inviting your partner out to dinner. What's important is that the bid is done out of love and that your partner gets the bid. We all bring our own background to the relationship and often times go into a relationship with different communication styles. This is where listening is really important. Take the time to get to know your partner and learn to receive your partners bids.