How to make love last: photo of a laughing couple

How to make love last: Info-Mini-Hack #1

(My summary of Brene Brown’s podcast episode with the Drs. John and Julie Gottman)

Want to know what makes love last, but don’t have an hour and a half to listen to Brene Brown’s podcast episode on the topic?

Here you go: my info-mini-hack of the above-mentioned episode. 

John and Julie Gottman are both super credentialed in the field of love research. They and their staff can predict—with 90% accuracy—within three minutes of meeting a couple if their relationship will last. 

Fun Love Fact: Having a successful, loving relationship confers 15 years longer life.

Helpful Idea #1: Beware “The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Relationships”

In the Gotttmans’ opinion, there are four behaviors that can doom a relationship. I could detail them all, but really, the infographic provided in the show notes says it all.

Thankfully, the Gottmans brilliantly provided the way to disarm each “horseman.”

How to recognize a “horseman:” name-calling, sarcasm, mockery, scoffing, sneering, eye-rolling. 

Helpful Idea #2: Emotionally healthy communication

Instead of falling into one of the four negative “horseman” behaviors, Julie Gottman recommends learning to use a verbal formula to communicate dissatisaction.

I feel _________ about _________. Would you please help me out by __________?

  • In the first blank you state how you’re feeling: ie. angry, disappointed, overwhelmed.
  • Use the second blank to describe the situation you find problematic: ie. dirty laundry on the floor, a neglected pet, dinner dishes left on the kitchen table. 
  • In the third blank, positively express what you’d like from your partner: relocating your dirty laundry to the hamper, walking the dog, putting your dishes in the dishwasher. 

Julie warns the language may seem awkward and hokey at first, but practice and repetition will make it feel natural.

Bonus: This verbal formula is useful in all relationships.

Helpful idea #3: Strategies used by emotionally healthy couples.

The Gottmans listed a number of behaviors observed in “Master Couples.”

  • Shared humor
  • Genuine affection for one another
  • Acceptance of their partner as they are
  • Friendship
  • Commitment to learning and having adventures together
  • Building a life of purpose and meaning
  • They ask one another open-ended questions (Why is this so important to you? Help me understand what this means to you? Where in your history does this come from?)

If you care about your romantic relationship, this podcast episode is very worth listening to in its entirety. Listen here.

For more on this topic, read my account of how email can help your marriage here.

How to make love last

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