The Formula for Fairytales

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Growing up I loved being read bedtime fairytales. The most important stories in my mind always ended with the same phrase: “And they all lived happily ever after.” Yet, I never could imagine my princes and princesses in any sort of married life. They weren’t couples doomed to argue over who did the dishes, or how to raise children, they just lived in the same continued bliss of their courtship, never getting older or becoming less in love, no matter how many years passed.

Now that I’m older, however, I realize how much work goes into finding “happily ever after;” it isn’t something that comes easy after finding the perfect fit for that glass slipper. That being said, I am always looking for a quick answer to one big question. Is there any way to tell whether a relationship is destined for a disastrous divorce or if it’s a happily ever after fairytale? According to Mathematician Hannah Fry, it may be as simple as a formula.

In her newly released book The Mathematics of Love, Fry explains that the ... Read more »


The Dangers of Contempt in Your Relationship.

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Contempt

This is another one of Dr. Gottman’s “four horsemen of the apocalypse” – elements which he identified as being especially damaging to couple relationships. This factor in particular, is considered the most damaging of the four horsemen and its presence is the strongest predictor of divorce.

What is contempt?

Contempt happens when you are truly being cruel to your partner. It includes name-calling, mimicking, or body language that conveys disgust with your partner, such as eye-rolling. When you act with contempt, you are completely void of empathy and make light of your partner’s needs or concerns. Contempt may sound something like, “Oh you think you’ve had a long day? You poor thing. I’m at work all day, dealing with an angry boss and deadlines and incompetent employees just to come home to an absolute pig sty. And you’re tired?! From what?! You’re so lazy, you don’t do anything around this house! Give me a break…” A relationship characterized by contempt is completely void of respect for one’s partner and boils down to being mean to each other.

 

What unspoken messages does contempt ... Read more »

A Simple Secret to Recapturing “That Loving Feeling” in Your Marriage…

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Marriage, Couple, Happy, Kindness

From the number of Huffposts and popular articles floating around the internet nowadays, it’s clear that there are lots of things that can help make your marriage better. Today, we want to address just one of those. This is all based on the research of Dr. John Gottman and is referred to as…

The Magic Ratio.

One of the cool things Gottman discovered in his research is that it is okay for couples to have disagreements and arguments. Actually, it’s expected and necessary because it allows couples to discuss issues and work out their differences. So, if you don’t agree with your partner, it’s okay to talk about it. Or if there’s something bothering you, it’s better to bring it up and talk about it with your partner, even if that means having a disagreement.

 

But if being happy in a relationship isn’t about never having disagreements, what separates happy couples from the miserable ones?  One of the key differences is the number of positive interactions that happy couples experience. According to Gottman, this ratio needs to be at least 5:1, meaning…

Those ... Read more »

Why You Shut Down During Your Fights and How To Stop Doing It

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Stonewall, Shut Down during Fight

This concept comes from Dr. John Gottman, who identified common features that are likely to lead to separation or dissolution for couple relationships. One of the elements he suggests as being especially damaging to a relationship is stonewalling.

What is stonewalling?

It’s when a partner withdraws from a discussion or argument. Withdrawing can take many forms. Maybe you change the subject when your partner tries to bring up a difficult topic. Or you get upset at your partner and decide to give him/her the silent treatment, creating a cold, distancing silence between you. You may even end up physically removing yourself from your partner’s presence, leaving the room or the house to avoid the conflict and escape the tension.

 

What unspoken messages does stonewalling send?

When you stonewall, you send negative messages to your partner, even though you may not intend to. When you pull away from the conversation or argument, your partner might feel ignored or unimportant. Thus, your partner is left wondering if you care about him or her. They might also start to feel hopeless about being able to resolve difficult issues with ... Read more »


Why You Should be Complaining More in Your Marriage…

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Criticism

This relationship concept comes from Dr. John Gottman. He’s a researcher who was able to predict with high accuracy whether a couple would stay together or divorce after watching them have a conflictual discussion for just three minutes. He identified four elements that are likely to lead to relationship dissolution with couples, which he termed the “four horseman of the apocalypse.” Criticism is one of them.

An important starting point is understanding the difference between criticism and complaints.

Complaints

Complaints are a healthy and necessary part of relationships – they’re a way for you to express your needs and help your partner meet those needs. If you were complaining about the dishes not being done, you might say, “I thought we had agreed you would do the dishes last night. I’m disappointed that didn’t happen.” Notice the complaint is focused on a singular act or behavior and how that behavior impacted you. Your partner is able to see that help with the dishes is important to you and he/she knows what to do next time to help you ... Read more »


The Secret to Not Letting Hard Conversations Destroy Your Marriage

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Research shows that a soft startup is a key indicator as to how well couples do in their relationship . Gottman was able to predict with over 90% accuracy whether a couple would stay together or divorce after watching them have a discussion together for only 3 minutes, so he has a pretty good idea of what elements help a relationship and what things can hurt it. One of the elements he suggests as being a key part to helping couples have a happy, lasting relationship is the soft startup.

What: The Soft Startup

It includes avoiding blame and including praise and will allow you approach difficult topics in a way that will help to facilitate conversation rather than drive your spouse away. It is the approach a spouse uses when he or she needs to talk about something that is potentially conflictual or difficult for the couple to discuss.

How: Avoid blaming

By talking in terms of “I feel” rather than “You did,” you can avoid blaming your partner and thus, keep him or her from feeling defensive. When you may be tempted ... Read more »