Masters of Love

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mt17Weddings are beautiful. Every year there are thousands of them, mostly in June.

And every year, marriages fail. Divorce, separation, and dysfunction are the unfortunate legacy of too many June nuptials.

According to Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of The Science of Happily Ever After, only three in 10 marriages remain healthy and happy ones.

The marriage crisis began in the 1970s. Divorce occurred at unprecedented rates. Concerned about the impact these marriages had on children, psychologists focused on couples, observed them, and analyzed the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship.

How were unhappy families unique in their misery, and how were miserable marriages alike?

The renowned psychologist, John Gottman author of The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, was one of those researchers. He has studied thousands of couples over the course of 40 years, investigating what makes relationships work. He now runs The Gottman Institute, which uses science to help couples build and maintain loving, healthy relationships.

With a team of researchers, in his Love Lab, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: the “masters” and the “disasters.” The masters were couples who were happy and together after six years. The disasters had either broken up, or were chronically unhappy in their marriages.

Researchers found clear physiological differences between the groups. The disasters seemed calm but their hearts were racing, they were sweaty, and their blood flow was fast. Gottman found that physiologically active couples had quickly dying relationships. Disasters were in fight-or-flight mode. The masters created a climate of trust and intimacy that was both emotionally and physically comfortable. Masters also avoided contempt, which is the largest factor for ruining marriages.

“Being mean is the death knell of relationships.” Research shows that kindness is the most important predictor of marital satisfaction and stability. Masters think of kindness as a muscle to be exercised, to keep their relationship in shape.

Practice kindness by being generous and open-minded about your partner’s intentions. Don’t immediately assume negativity in your relationship.

Practice active, constructive responding. Stop what you are doing and engage with your partner. This is critical for enduring, healthy relationships.

Read the entire article here: Masters of Love

 

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