In a world that keeps seemingly getting busier, with more distractions than ever, it can be easier and easier to lose touch with your significant other.
Over time, mild irritation can quickly turn into resentment, especially if you let things fester (so don’t).
Before you know it, suddenly your dream come true has become miles away from you.
How do you prevent that?
How do you stay close and connected and keep the fire burning in your marriage even when you run the risk of growing apart?
OK, that’s extreme, you don’t HAVE to fight to be a happy couple, but if something’s wrong, you really shouldn’t bite your tongue, or else you might find yourself in a cold war, a freeze out that is more likely to signify the beginning of an end in a relationship than other common patterns.
So that’s the first piece here: Happy couples fight.
But there’s something you need to do before and after you fight if you want to stay happy.
Before you fight, you should create the kind of relationship in which you feel both safe to express yourselves no matter what.
So how do you create that safe environment?
Attend to what’s going WELL so that you feel safe enough with each other to do that.
John Gottman calls this a magic ratio of 5:1 positive to negative exchanges in a relationship, which he found happy couples to uphold in their marriages (divorcing couples had a ratio of 0.8:1).
In other words: Don’t ignore what’s not going well, but don’t forget about what is going well. Further, don’t forget to EXPRESS what’s going well.
Researchers have long been finding how GRATITUDE is so helpful, so start noticing and voicing your appreciation for what’s going RIGHT so that your partner will actually be able to hear you when you bring up something that’s NOT flying for you.
Spend time together and value your relationship and your partner so that any negative stuff doesn’t overshadow what’s really important in any great relationship: Your connection.
Disagreements, miscommunications and misunderstandings will certainly create temporary distance, and at times you may feel far apart.
Without stepping into that fire with each other, you’ll still feel far apart, and run the risk of drifting even further away.
Keep that fire turned up obstinately and leave no room for forgiveness or resolve and you’ll also remain far apart.
It should go without saying that happy couples know what to do after a fight too:
They get over themselves and don’t let days go by without coming back together and rejoining each others team.
Even better, they recognize they’ve been on the same team all along.
They know what’s important above all: Their commitment to each other.
That’s what gets them through the hard times.
That’s what enables them to speak up when something’s not right.
That’s what enables them to reconnect regardless of whether that something is resolved or not.
Because at the end of the day, that connection is more important than most other things.
Where does your relationship need room for improvement?
Do you need to create a safer environment within your relationship so that you can both speak up?
Do you need to speak up?
Do you need to reconnect more quickly and/or effectively?
Let me know in the comments.
Cheers to thriving in business & love,