Dr. John Gottman and Dr. The Julie Schwartz Gottman couple has been married for 35 years and has been working on relationships for many years. Stating that they studied more than 40,000 partners during the 50 years they worked as psychologists, the Gottman couple say, “Our research not only helped us maintain a happy marriage with each other for 35 years, but also taught us how to detect when a relationship is heading for disaster.” According to them, there is something successful couples never do: Underestimating each other.
Lack of appreciation can destroy a relationship
Saying “thank you” helps, but creating a culture of appreciation takes much more than that, the Gottmans comment. You should actively look for things your partner is doing right. Find the good things that are hidden and overlooked and point them out. We see in many couples that spouses focus on mistakes and criticize each other for it.
Don’t do these four things
1. Accusation, criticism
The Gottmans recommend not attacking your partner’s character: “You don’t care about anyone else’s time. You’re too selfish.” So, how to fix this situation? Here are their suggestions: You can complain in frustrating situations, but don’t blame your partner for everything that goes wrong. Use the “I” statement to focus on how you’re feeling and let him know what you need.
Contempt is the #1 determinant of divorce. This communication style is fueled by long-held beliefs that your partner is inferior to you. When you act condescendingly, you are being deliberately rude. You may mock your partner, imitate him, call him names, or use condescending body language such as eye rolling or sarcasm. Positive thoughts turn into positive emotions, which in turn turn into positive actions. So focus on your admiration for your partner. Make a list of the things you like about him. Think about your favorite memories together and let them know you appreciate them.
3. Don’t get defensive
Becoming defensive is an unproductive response to criticism. You look for excuses, play the victim and put the blame on him. For example, if your partner asks if you took out the trash, a defensive response might be: “You know how tired I am after work. I can’t believe you asked me that. It’s because I’m so lazy, right? Why can’t you?” Try to understand your partner’s point of view and accept responsibility for your actions. For the example above, you could say: “You know what? I came home and completely forgot to take out the trash. I’m sorry. I’ll do it now.”
Instead of engaging in conflict, you can tune out your partner, ignore them, or even physically distance yourself from the conversation. It takes time to reach the point where you feel the need to block your partner. But once you start, it can be hard to stop. Instead of just walking away, you can say: “I feel too angry to talk about this. Can we take a 15-minute break to calm down?” Go to another room and do something relaxing like reading a book, then get back to the conversation.