Secret to long happy relationship is reduced to two traits

Scientists and psychologists in one voice say that the main secret of long-term relationships are reduced to just two things!




It is the kindness and generosity.

Every day of June (the most popular wedding months in a year) about a huge number of couples say "yes", an alliance which will last until the end of their days will be filled with friendship, joy and love.


Alas, this principle does not work at all.

Most marriages fail, resulting in divorce, leading to resentment, bitterness and recriminations.

According to psychologist Ty Tashiro, in his book "Science of happiness ever since ...", which was published earlier this year, of all zhenivshihsya / married people only 3/10 remain happily married.

Sociologists began studying the marriages in the 1970s in response to the crisis of the family institution: married couples began to disintegrate downright record pace. Worried about the impact that divorce have, including children, psychologists decided to study the couples that in the laboratory to find out what is the secret of healthy long-term relationship.

Was every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as claimed by Tolstoy, or all of a broken marriage had in common?

Psychologist John Gottman was one of the researchers. Over the past four decades he has studied thousands of couples, in order to understand what keeps relationships strong. Recently I had the opportunity to take in New York interviewing Gottman and his wife, Julia, who also works as a psychologist. However, experts have created a family stability Gottman Institute, which helps couples build and maintain a strong relationship, based on scientific research.

John Gottman began studying the issue in 1986, when he created the "Love Lab", together with his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington. Gottman and Levenson brought to his laboratory honeymooners and watched how they interact with each other.

Together with a team of researchers are connected to a pair of electrodes and asked them to talk about their relationship - how they met, what was their first quarrel, a very positive memories connected them with one another. As they talked, electrodes measured the blood flow test, heart rate, the amount of sweat they produced. The researchers then released a pair of home and invited them back to the lab six years later to find out whether their marriage survived and how to change their attitude.

Based on the collected data, Gottman couples shared into two main groups: "Wizard" and "acts of God».

"Masters" were still happy after six years of marriage.
"Natural disasters" were either divorced or chronically unhappy marriage.
When the researchers analyzed data obtained from the pairs, they found clear differences between the "masters" and "natural disasters." During an interview last looked very calm, while their physiology talked about something else. Their hearts beat quickly, their sweat glands are overactive, and their blood flow - intensive. After analyzing thousands of couples in this way, the researchers concluded that the more physiologically active couples were in the lab - the rapidly deteriorating their relationship.

They seemed to struggle is in at any moment ready to attack. For them to talk and sit next to your husband / wife was equivalent to face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger.

"Masters", in contrast, showed a low level. They feel relaxed and comfortable in each other, that the transition to the gentle behavior, even when they quarreled. This does not mean that the "masters" have created a better physiological disguise than "natural disasters." This means that the "masters" have created an atmosphere of trust that has allowed them both to feel emotionally and physically comfortable.

Gottman would like to know more about how the "master" has succeeded in maintaining a culture of love and intimacy, and "disaster" - to destroy it. In a subsequent study in 1990, he set up a laboratory on the campus of the University of Washington. The conditions in the lab more like the atmosphere of the resort where you can relax.

He invited 130 couples to newlyweds so that they spent the whole day in this pleasant town, doing so than usual busy couple on vacation. Gottman made a crucial discovery in the research allows us to understand why some relationships flourish, while others are destroyed.

During the day, the partners makes a request for connection to Gottman calls "invitations". For example, a man's wife drew attention to the fact that the yard was flying goldfinch. He told his wife: "Look at the beautiful birds outside!". Not only did he comment on the appearance of birds, but also requested a response from the wife - that is a sign of the interest and support - and hope that they "connect" with each other.

My wife had a choice. She could not answer, or turning to her husband, or turning away from him. Bird, according to Gottman, there was just a part, allowing a closer look at the relationship as a couple. My husband thought that the bird is an important reason to start a dialogue. The question is whether the wife admitted that position and whether it respected.

People-oriented partnership, the study responded to the "invitation" keen interest and support. There were those who did not respond or responded minimum, preferring to do their own thing. Some even reacted with open hostility: "Do not interrupt me, I read!»

Such interaction with the "invitation" had a great impact on family well-being. The couple, who divorced after six years of marriage, given to the creation of emotional intimacy with a partner, only 33 percent of the time. At the same time happy couples that paid 87 percent of the time. Only 3 of the 10 "invitations" "Disaster" was greeted with enthusiasm, the "masters" this ratio was 9 out of 10.

Watching these types of interactions could Gottman with 94 percent certainty predict what will happen to a couple - straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or encumbered offspring. Will they still be happy together for several years, or to part (or remain in an unhappy union). Most of it comes down to what the spirit of the pair brings to the relationship. Do they bear good and generosity or contempt, criticism and hostility.

In an interview, Gottman explained that "masters" have a habit of thinking a certain way they are monitoring the environment for things that they can appreciate and which may be grateful. They build this culture of respect and appreciation is very purposefully. "Natural disasters" the social environment is scanned for errors partner.

"It's not just scanning the environment - intervenes Julie Gottman - a scanning partner for what he is doing right or, on the contrary, wrong. It is a choice to criticize him or to appreciate the way it is, »

As scientists discovered the main cause for the disorder pairs was contempt. People who are focused on criticism of their partner passes 50 percent of the positive things that they do, and they tend to see the negative, where it is not.

People who have a partner the cold shoulder, deliberately ignoring it, or in response to its requests the minimum, make it feel useless and invisible. People who constantly refer to the disdainfully partners and criticize them, not only to destroy the feelings and attitudes, but also reduce the body's ability to husband / wife to fight viruses and cancer. You can call such behavior is the death knell for a relationship.

Goodness, on the other hand, a pair of links together. Independent studies have shown that kindness (with emotional stability) - the most important factors influencing satisfaction and stability in marriage. Compassion gives you the opportunity to partner feel loved, important, understood and valued. "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, - said Shakespeare Juliet - the more I give it to you, the more it becomes." The same working principle of kindness: there is plenty of evidence that the more a person gets good - the kinder he becomes himself. The relationship is, of course, lead to their strengthening.

There are two ways to think about kindness. You can consider it a fixed sign - or you have it or not. Or you can think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, this muscle is stronger than others, but it can become stronger in all, if you exercise regularly. "Masters" tend to think of kindness as a muscle. They know they should exercise it, to keep in shape. In other words, they know that a good relationship - is a constant hard work.

"If your partner expresses a need - explains Julie Gottman - and you are tired or under the influence of stress or distracted, generosity would be to, in spite of everything, to turn to the partner and to respond to his" invitation »

At this point, easy to turn away from your partner and focus on your ipad, or book, or TV, mumble "Uh-huh" and go back to your business, but the neglect of even such small moments of social communication will undermine your relationship. Neglect creates a distance between the partners and breeds resentment that someone ignored.

The most difficult time for acts of kindness - a quarrel. But this is the most important time to be kind. If you let the aggression and contempt to go out of control - it can cause irreparable damage to the relationship.

"Compassion does not mean that we do not express anger, - says Julie Gottman - but kindness determines which method to express the anger we choose. You can throw a spear in your partner, or you can explain to him why you are wounded and angry, and it's a good way ».

John Gottman dwells more on the spears, "Natural disasters" behave during an argument in a different way. They say, "You're late. What is wrong with you? You're just like your mother. " "Masters" say, "I feel bad because of your late arrival and even though I know it's not your fault, but I was still annoyed that you're late again»

For hundreds of thousands of couples who marry each June, and for the millions of couples who are now together in marriage or outside it - the lesson of the study is simple: if you want to have a stable healthy relationships, start practicing kindness as soon as possible and do it more often.

When people talk about the practice of kindness, often they are referring to small acts of generosity (like buy each other small gifts or a relaxing back massage, etc.). At the same time serious examples of generosity and kindness can base the foundation of relationships that partners will carry through the daily routine, regardless of whether they are connected back massage and chocolate.

One way to practice kindness - is to be generous to the intentions of the partner. From research Gottmanov we know that the "natural disasters" tend to see the negative in a relationship, even if it's not there. Enraged wife, for example, may think that her husband left the toilet seat raised specifically to annoy her. But he could do it just for the distraction.

Or, say, the wife of late for dinner again, and her husband said that so she does not appreciate it enough to go on their romantic date on the anniversary of the time, although it for this time off from work early. But it turns out that his wife was delayed because the stop at the store to pick up a gift for her husband.

Imagine how she joins him for dinner, excited about what's going to cheer him a gift, and her husband - in a terrible mood because of the fact that it is wrong to interpret her behavior. The ability to interpret the actions and intentions of your partner can alleviate conflict.

"Even in a relationship where people are disappointed, it is almost always due to the fact that there are positive shifts, and people are at least trying to do some things right - said psychologist Ty Tashiro - Many times the partner is trying to make things right, even if it leaves not much. Since most of his intention ».

Another powerful strategy of kindness is to share the joy. To one of the obvious signs of "disaster" in a couple of Gottman considers failure to share the joy of the partner. For example, one in the pair shares their joy over the fact that he was promoted at work, and the other did not show any interest to it, distracted by their hours or ending a conversation commented: "This is good».

We've all heard that the partners have to be there when hard times come. However, researchers say that much more important to be there just when things are going well. The way people react to the good news partner can have dramatic consequences for the relations.

In one study, conducted in 2006, a psychologist Shelly Gable and her colleagues have led young couples into the lab to discuss the positive developments taking place in their lives. Psychologists want to know how partners are responding to each other's success. Researchers have identified four types of reactions: a passive destructive actively destructive, constructive passively and actively constructive.

Suppose that she learned that her accepted into medical school. And she said something like, "I got what I wanted! I was accepted to medical school! ».

If her partner responds passively destructive manner - it will ignore the event. For example, he might say: "You will not believe what happened to me yesterday: I won a free T-shirt!».
If her partner responds passively constructive manner, it acknowledges the good news, but sluggish, lowering their value. Typical passive constructive response: "It's great, baby" - in the same style, in which he writes sms friend.
In the case of an active partner destructive response strongly downplay the good news, such as: "Are you sure you handle the load? How much does it cost? Medical School - it is very expensive ».
And, finally, actively constructive response - is when the partner stops to engage in their business, and exclaim, "This is wonderful! Congratulations! When did you find out? They'll give you a call? Lessons will begin in the first semester »?
Among the four possible types of answers are actively constructive - the kindest. Then the rest can only kill the joy of actively constructive type allows the partner to enjoy the joy and more united couple. In the language of Gottmanov actively constructive type is "turning to a partner».

Actively constructive type is essential for a healthy relationship. In a 2006 study Gable and her colleagues tracked the pair six months later to see whether to continue their relationship. Psychologists have deduced that the only difference between couples who were still happy with each other, and those who are separated, was actively constructive type of interaction. Those who showed a genuine interest in the success of a partner, had high chances of staying together. In an earlier study Gable also found that active and constructive type of interaction associated with higher quality relationships and greater intimacy between partners.

There are many reasons why marriages are crumbling. However, if you look at it, which leads to the collapse of many ways - it is, more often, the lack of kindness. When a couple falls down a lot of problems - routine, home, kids, career, family - love each other very recently people can now begin to move away, putting less effort into the relationship and allowing the petty grievances gradually displace a great feeling.

In most marriages satisfaction level falls dramatically during the first few years together. But not among couples who are living together happily for many years, their guiding spirit of kindness and generosity.

Emily Esfahani Smith

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