If this was true love, we wouldn’t need couples therapy. This is a common belief from clients, but is it true? The research tells us that successful relationships take skills that can be learned.
Dr John Gottman has been researching relationships for over 40 years. And at the Gottman Institute researchers have studied thousands of different couples longitudinally, that is, in many studies over time. The results have clearly shown that some people are “masters of relationships” with high relationship satisfaction and some are “disasters of relationships”. So when couples learn what it takes to build a good relationship, around 70% of them are able to make the changes they need to increase their relationship satisfaction.
What happens to starry-eyed lovers when they fall out of love? In the early days of relationships we tend to hang on every word of our loved one, we yearn to hear their voice and learn all about them. We tend to get to know our partners well. However, as the years go by, we get busy with careers, kids, life and we lose touch with how our partners are changing and who they have become.
Interestingly, this is one of the key findings from the research – that the masters of relationships are the ones that maintain their friendships. And you too can learn a range of skills to keep deepening your friendship with your partner and see the dividends this pays by helping you understand your partner when new challenges arise.
There are many myths about conflict and marriage and what the research shows us is that the masters of relationships do fight. Conflict is normal. However, fighting with your partner like they’re someone you love rather than an enemy will help you manage conflict in a healthy way. First of all, couples can learn the skills to have difficult discussions about perpetual and solvable issues which can lead to a deeper understanding of each other and better relationship satisfaction, even if you don’t solve the issue at hand.
When we become a couple many parts of our life can change. The research has shown that the masters of relationships support their partner’s dreams and aspirations. And together the masters create new purpose and meaning in their lives. This can be as simple as new Christmas or birthday traditions, how you spend your weekends, or working towards life goals.
Enhancing True Love in Your Life
By making small changes every day you can change the trajectory of your relationship in the same way a ship changes course with a few degrees turn of the wheel. Happily, all these skills can be learned and in fact, they have been distilled into the Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, a course for couples to enhance their relationships.
This course will be coming to Brisbane in 2019. You can register your interest here.