Dr. John Gottman is a relationship researcher, and has followed some couples for over a twenty year period. He states that his research demonstrates clearly what couples will stay together, who will be happy, and what couples will eventually separate. There are specific ways of interacting that make these predictions possible. He uses the terms "Masters of Intimacy", and "Diseasters of Intimacy". In this post I will talk about those behaviors and interactions that cause couples to flourish. He defines three things that are important to cultivate a lasting loving friendship within your intimate relationship. The first is the development of "Love Maps". A love map is what you learn about your partner's inner terrine or world. This might include important details about their past, what is important to them in the present, and their hopes for the future. It includes their deepest fears and their greatest dreams. How we develop love maps is by showing interest and by asking open ended questions. (And of course we are going to suspend judgment as you have heard me say so many times before.) Over time we will continue to learn more about our partner and gain a more detailed representation of their inner world. The second ingredient is to develop a culture of "Fondness and Admiration". We make an effort to notice the positive attributes of the other. We not only scan for the positives about them, but we reflect back to them the positive things that we see and appreciate in them. The third thing he calls "Bids for Connection". As our partner notices something about life, and is hoping for a response from us, we make choices with regards to their comment. If for example they say, "What a beautiful flower", we can say nothing, yea, yes it is beautiful, or explore their interest and observation in the object. We either move "away from", or "toward" their comment. Healthy couples validate their partner's bids for attention and connection.
Building Friendships in Intimate Relationships
Click here to view and print forms for your appointment.Click Here