Each day of June, the most popular wedding months of the year, about 13,000 American couples say “yes” to each other, promising to be together for life, in love and joy, carrying his love through the years, until the end of days.
Unfortunately, for most couples this will not work. Most marriages end in divorce, and either break or turn out to be unsuccessful. As psychologist Ty Tashiro says in his book “Science to live happily ever after”, only three out of ten unions remain healthy, happy relationship.
Sociologists first began to study marriage in the 1970s, when the crisis occurred: couples broke up often unprecedented. Concerned about the impact of divorce on children, psychologists decided to throw all their forces to the problems of couples, to try to determine what is the secret to long-term, healthy relationship. Is every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as claimed by Tolstoy, or there is some unifying link in unhappy marriages?
Psychologist John Gottman was one of the researchers. Over the past four decades, he studied thousands of couples to find out how they are formed relationship. Recently I had the chance to interview in New York at the Gottman and his wife, Julie, also a psychologist.
John Gottman began to draw conclusions from his research in 1986, when he created the “Love Lab” with his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington. Gottman and Levenson brought to the Laboratory honeymooners and watched how they interact with each other. Together with a team of researchers, they hooked electrodes and asked the couple to talk about their relationship: how they met, how to resolve conflicts, which they have positive memories. As they talked, electrodes measured the blood flow, heart rate and sweating in the subjects. The researchers then sent a pair of home to meet again with them six years later and see if still they are together.
According to the collected data, Gottman couples divided into two main groups: the master and unfortunate . Masters were happy together six years later. Unfortunate or divorced, or were chronically unhappy marriage. When the researchers analyzed the data collected, they found clear differences between masters and unfortunate. Unfortunate looked calm during the interview, but their physical performance, measured electrodes, showed a very different picture. They had a rapid pulse, sweating and blood flow. Having studied thousands of couples, Gottman has found that the more physiologically active pairs in the laboratory, the faster then their relationship deteriorated.
But what attitude is physiology? The problem was that the “hapless” pairs revealed signs of the strategy of “fight or flight”. Speaking next to each other was for the couple would be like meeting a saber-toothed tiger. Even when they talk about pleasant or mundane aspects of the relationship, they were ready to attack and be attacked. Because of this increased heart rate, and they were more aggressive towards each other. For example, each member of the pair had to talk about how his day, he was very excited husband could say to his wife: “Why do not you start? After all, it does not take a lot of time. ”
At the Masters, on the other hand, there is a low physiological arousal. They were calm and spoke warmly and lovingly, even when arguing. This does not mean that the default masters were the best physiological measures than the unfortunates; but the masters have created an atmosphere of trust and intimacy, but because both spouses feel more emotionally and therefore physically comfortable.
Gottman wanted to learn how to master this created an atmosphere of love and intimacy, and how unfortunate it destroyed. In subsequent studies, conducted in 1990, he set up a laboratory on the campus of the University of Washington, which looked like a cozy living room. He invited 130 pairs of newlyweds to spend the day in solitude, and watching what they do: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, hang out and have fun. And Gottman made an important discovery that reveals the reasons why some relationships flourish, while others languish.
Throughout the day, the partners made requests for cooperation – Gottman calls their “application”. For example, the husband – a lover of birds, and suddenly he notices that the garden goldfinch flies. He says to his wife: “Look, there are some beautiful bird!”. It is not just stating a fact, he is waiting for a response from his wife – a sign of the interest or support – we hope that through this opportunity, they will interact with.
The wife now have a choice. It can be either “to face” or “turn away” from her husband. Although the application through a bird may seem small and silly, in fact, this example can tell a lot about the health of the relationship. My husband thought that the bird – this is quite an important topic to start a conversation about it, and now the question is, how his wife approves and respects him again.
People who have turned to their spouses in the study, showed interest and supported the proposal. Those who turned away, did not react or react marginally, continuing to go about their business – to watch television or read the newspaper. Sometimes they meet openly hostile, saying something like: “Stop distracting me, I’m reading.”
These calls for interaction have had a tremendous impact on family well-being. The couple, who divorced after six years, responded to the request in 33% of cases. Only three out of ten applications for an emotional connection were met with approval. Couples who six years later were still together, responded to a request in 87% of cases. In nine cases out of ten, they responded to the emotional needs of his partner.
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After considering all of these types of interactions, further Gottman could up to 94 percent of the claim which pair will fall apart, would be unhappy, and some will be happy even after several years. And much depends on what the couple bring to the relationship – the kindness and generosity or contempt, criticism and hostility.
“The masters of a certain mentality,” – said in an interview Gottman. – “They scan the social climate to determine what they might be grateful. They purposefully build a culture of respect and appreciation. Unfortunate scan social climate, to seek out partners mistakes. ”
“It’s not just environmental scan” – intervened Julie Gottman. “This is a scan of a partner – what he does is right and what is wrong, and the critic instead of respect and expressions of gratitude.”
Contempt – the number one factor that leads to rupture. People who focus on criticism of their partners, 50 per cent passed the positive things that makes them a partner. They find a negative, even when it is not. People who have his partner the cold shoulder – deliberately ignoring it, or responding reluctantly – spoil the relationship, making your partner feel worthless and invisible, as if he did not exist, and his opinion is not valuable. By the way, people who treat their partners with disdain and criticize them, kill not only love, but also the ability of your partner to fight viruses and cancer. Sarcastically – is the death knell for relationships.
Goodwill, on the contrary, holds a pair. Independent studies have shown that kindness (along with emotional stability) – the most important indicator of success and stability in marriage. Goodwill allows each partner to feel cared for, it is understood and appreciated, in other words – love.
My love is so deep.
And mercy is boundless like the sea.
The more I give it to you,
The more you get …
So says Shakespeare’s Juliet. Here’s how kindness: there is a lot of evidence that the more a person receives or sees the goodness, the more good he becomes, and thus increases the love and generosity in relationships.
There are two ways to talk about goodwill. You can consider it a kind of pre-fact: either it is or it is not. Or you can treat it like a muscle. In some people, muscles on the nature stronger than others, but they can be developed with exercise. Masters tend to think of goodness as a muscle. They know that they need to exercise it, to keep yourself in shape. They know, in other words, that good relationship requires constant hard work.
“If your partner expresses need your attention, and you are tired, overwhelmed or scattered, then when your partner makes a bid, you show generosity and again turn to face him”, – explained Julie Gottman.
At this point, it would be much easier to turn away from your partner and focus on their iPads or book, or TV, to mutter, “Yeah” and continue about their business, but the neglect of minor moments of emotional connection gradually affect your relationship. Neglect creates a distance between partners and breeds resentment from someone ignored.
The most difficult to practice kindness in quarrels – but it’s also the most important time to show kindness. If you allow contempt and aggression to get out of control during the conflict, it could cause irreparable damage to the relationship.
“If we are friendly, it does not mean that we do not express your anger” – explains Julie Gottman. – “This means that we choose a way to express it. You can shoot lightning at his partner. Or you can explain why you are in pain or what you are offended. This is the way of goodwill. ”
John Gottman explains: “Unfortunate say during the quarrel is not what we need. For example, “You’re late. What is wrong with you? You’re just like your mother. ” A master in the same situation, say, “I hate to cling to you for your being late, and I know it’s not your fault, but it’s really annoying.”
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Hundreds of thousands of couples who married this month, and the millions of couples who are together today can learn from this study one lesson: if you want to have a stable, healthy relationships, show kindness as often as possible.
When people think about how to practice benevolence, they often think that we have to somehow show his generosity, for example, to buy each other small gifts or massage. Although this is an excellent example of goodwill, goodwill should be built into the very foundation of the relationship, in the very way of interaction partners with each other every day, no matter whether with a massage and chocolates.
One way to practice benevolence – to be generous when considering the intentions of your partner. We know from the study Gottman that unfortunate relationship only see the negative, even if it does not exist. The furious wife may think, for example, that when her husband does not lower the toilet seat, he does it on purpose to annoy her. But he could just absent-mindedly forget to lower the seat.
Or, say, the wife again late for dinner, and my husband thinks she’s just not enough value for him to come in time, and he reserved a table in advance and left work early to spend a romantic evening together. But in fact the wife of late because it came into the store to pick up a gift for their special night. Imagine now, as she sits at a table in a restaurant, can not wait to get a gift, and realizes that he is in a bad mood because misinterpreted the motives of her behavior. If you get used to interpret the actions and intentions of your partner with love, it will soften the sharp edges of the conflict.
“Even when people are frustrated relationships, they can always find the positive side,” – said to me, psychologist Ty Tashiro. “Your spouse often tries to do something good for you, even if the result is not pretty. We need to appreciate the intention. ”
Another powerful strategy of goodwill relating to the division of joy. Gottman calls one of the characteristic features of hapless couples their inability to communicate through the good news. For example, one partner shares good news, for example, an increase in the work, and the other responsible wood disinterest, looking at his watch, or breaks off the conversation comments such as: “Well, that’s nice.”
We all know that the partners have to support each other especially in difficulties. But research shows that support each other when everything is going well, even more important for the quality of the relationship. The reaction partner in the good news could have a dramatic impact on the relationship.
In one 2006 study psychologist Shelly Gable and her colleagues invited the young couple to the lab to discuss the recent positive events in their lives. The psychologists wanted to know how partners are responding to the good news in each other’s lives. They found that, overall, the pair responded to the good news in four different ways: passive-destructive, active-destructive, passive-active-constructive and constructive.
For example, one of the girls learned great news: she enrolled in medical school. She exclaims: “I got into the best medical school!”.
If her partner responded passive-destructive way, it will ignore this event. For example, say something like: “You would not believe some great news yesterday I learned! I won a free t-shirt! “.
If her partner chooses passive-constructive way, he will celebrate the good news, but hesitantly. Typical passive-constructive response – “Excellent” – it’s like smska friend.
The third type of reaction, active-destructive partner will detract from the good news of its second half, “You sure you can handle it? What about the payment? Medical Institute – it is so expensive! “.
Finally, there is an active-constructive reaction. If the partner has chosen this response, he will interrupt their studies and sincerely respond: “It’s great! Congratulations! When did you know? They called you? What kind of lectures will be in the first semester? “.
Of the four ways of reaction active and constructive response to the most friendly. While other reactions kill joy, active-constructive response allows the partner to share the joy, and on this basis to get closer to each other. In the language of Gottman, active-constructive answer – it is a way “to face” to your partner (sharing the good news), and not “turn away” from him.
Active-constructive reaction has a decisive impact on health. In the 2006 study, Gable and her colleagues met with pairs of two months to learn, still there they are together. Psychologists have found that only couples who have responded actively, constructively and stayed together. When couples have a genuine interest in the joy of their partners, the likelihood that they are not part, is much higher. In an earlier study, Gable has found that active and constructive response is also associated with higher quality relationships and greater intimacy between partners.
There are many reasons why relationships fail, but if you ask what affects the deterioration of relations, I will reply that most often it is a lack of goodwill. When the accumulated stress in your life – because of the children, career, friends, relatives, and others – and romance and sex are displaced, the pair may start to make less effort to maintain the relationship, allowing the petty grievances increasingly alienate them from each other. In most marriages, the partners’ level of satisfaction with each other falls sharply during the first few years. But if the pair does not just tolerate each other, and live happily together for many, many years, their leading spirit of goodwill and generosity.