• Express more positives than negatives. In Gottman’s research, he found that those happily married showed a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative statements to each other and about their relationship.r>r>
r>• Accept each other’s influence. In strong partnerships neither spouse is too rigid to consider the requests or input of his or her mate.r>
r>• Maintain high standards. Those who regularly accept disrespectful behavior from a partner are likely to see their relationship deteriorate over time.r>
r>• Learn how to exit an argument. This can include expressions of humor, compassion or appreciation; a time-out until cooler heads prevail; or even backing off from your position in the disagreement.r>
r>• Edit your angry thoughts. Just because it’s normal to feel anger doesn’t mean it’s useful to express all of it. Those rated as happier couples learned to manage angry thoughts and share them judiciously.r>
r>• Consider your opening. Pay attention to your tone and wording. Couples can avoid, soften or de-escalate differences through the manner in which they raise sensitive issues.r>
r>• Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Gottman reports that the average couple waits six years before reaching out for help with a troubled marriage. The earlier a couple addresses problems the easier it is to make positive changes.r>
Return to> What Is This Thing Called Love?