More positive to negative is the key to marriage success

Aim for greater than 5 times positive moments in your marriage to the negative. If as professor John Gottman suggests, marital satisfaction is linked to each partners’ physiological response to one another, then balancing positive and negative, 5 more positive moments to 1 negative, gives couples a guide on how to behave.

When your relationship tends toward negative responses to one another such as stubbornness, withdrawal, contempt or defensiveness, consider the 5 plus times you need to express interest, show affection, or being appreciative or showing concern. Whilst there is some evidence that conflict may serve a positive function in marriage, too much negativity can be harmful. Think about a positive thing that you can do for your partner right now and act on it. Be intentional about your relationship.

Adapted from Gottman, J. 2007: ‘Why marriages Succeed or Fail’; Bloomsbury, London.

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