7 Principles for a Successful Relationship

By: Jennifer Chu

Ever wonder how it would be if we could put couples in a lab and study their way of interaction to uncover the secrets behind successful and unsuccessful relationships?

Well, renowned researcher Dr John Gottman did precisely that. Gottman’s ground-breaking research journey involved studying over 3,000 couples across several decades to uncover the secrets. His findings,  distilled into “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” provide a roadmap for fostering lasting love and building a resilient partnership.

Here are the 7 principles for a successful relationship:

1. Cultivate fondness and admiration:

Nurture a culture of appreciation and respect within the relationship to strengthen the foundation of your marriage. For example, creating a routine to regularly express your affection by hugs, kisses or heartfelt gestures to reinforce your fondness of each other.

2. Prioritise friendship:

Invest time in shared experiences, laughter, and supporting each other’s interests to build a deep and enduring bond. Make an effort to truly listen to your partner’s thoughts and feelings, showing genuine and empathy in their experiences.

3. Solve problems together:

Approach problem-solving collaboratively, emphasising compromise and understanding. Focus on finding solutions that satisfy both of you, rather than “winning” the argument.

4. Turn to each other:

Practice active listening, empathy, and positive responses to bids for connection, fostering intimacy and trust. Show empathy and understanding during disagreements by acknowledging your partner’s perspective and validating their feelings, even if you disagree.

5. Overcome gridlock:

Delve into underlying emotions and values to break through persistent conflicts. Seek compromise by finding creative solutions or making small concessions that honour both partners’ needs and values.

6. Create shared meaning:

Explore shared values and aspirations to foster a sense of purpose and unity. Celebrate milestones and accomplishments together, acknowledging the progress you’ve made as a couple and the challenges you’ve overcome.

7. Maintain emotional connection:

prioritise vulnerability, open communication and empathy to sustain deep emotional intimacy. Make time for regular check-ins with each other to discuss your feelings, concerns, and experiences, creating a safe space for open and honest communication.

Article supplied with thanks to The Centre for Effective Living.

Feature image: Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

About the Author: Jennifer Chu is a psychologist who is passionate about therapy, experienced in a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, social adjustment issues, stress management, and cross-cultural issues and more.

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