Gottman's Marriage Tips
Following these tips can help strengthen marriages and help them to better weather the inevitable problems all relationships face.
Marriage requires work, affection, conscious thought, and a positive environment.
- Seek help early. Instead of waiting the average time of six years before looking for outside assistance, seek help as soon as a problem makes itself known.
- Edit yourself. Honesty is important, but making every single critical or negative thought known just hurts your partner.
- Soften your “start up.” When a problem comes up, instead of beginning with an angry confrontation, bring up your concerns gently and with care.
- Accept influence. Both parties need to be able to accept and change feelings and plans due to the influence of the other party, but this is especially important to remember in the case of the husband accepting his wife’s influence (as women are more likely to accept male influence due to the culture at large).
- Have high standards. Don’t tolerate bad behavior until it reaches a breaking point. Hold yourselves and one another to the highest reasonable standard.
- Learn to repair and/or exit the argument. If an argument isn’t getting anywhere, change the subject, make a humorous or caring remark to lighten the mood, establish a common ground, and back down when necessary. If an argument is especially heated, agree to take a 20-minute recess to cool down and then re-approach the situation with more level heads.
- Focus on the bright side. Cultivate a positive climate rather than a negative one in your marriage. Continually say kind and loving things to your partner and about your relationship…these affirmations will only become more true with time.
Dr. John Gottman has studied what makes marriages succeed or fail since 1973; using his insight he has been able to tell with over 90% accuracy the future of a marriage. These marriage tips have been gleaned from years of research.
You can take a relationship quiz on Dr. Gottman's website here and test your own relationship's strength.
Here is a video of Dr. Gottman talking about the "magic relationship ratio":