We’ve all had relationship problems, and everyone from your maid to your mother has an advice for you on what you are doing wrong in your relationship. But here, we give you research backed findings on what you should do and should not do when it comes to your relationship with your significant other.
John Gottman, a professor emeritus at the University of Washington, and co-founder of the Gottman Institute, has published over 190 papers and authored more than 40 books, about relationships and marriage. He divides people into two categories, those ‘good’ at marriage and whose marriage works as ‘Masters’ and the others as ‘Disasters’.
Here is what he has to say about what are the 4 red flags in a relationship:
- Criticism: No one likes to be criticized, and we like it even less if the person criticizing us is our partner. Masters instead of criticizing, are self-deprecating and broach the topic of what they don’t like very gently.
- Defensiveness: The natural reaction to criticism is either defending yourself or acting like a helpless victim. Both are wrong, according to Gottman. While the Disasters did one of these two things, the Masters took responsibility for their actions and showed that they were interested in understanding what their partners were trying to tell them.
- Contempt: Contempt means thinking your partner is inferior to you. In fact, as per Gottaman’s research, contempt not only predicted divorce but also had a bearing on the future infectious diseases and health of the couple.
- Stonewalling: Stonewalling is indifference. It is either tuning out or not being concerned about what your partner thinks or has to say.
If more women are guilty of criticism, more men are guilty of stonewalling.
Fortunately, Gottman’s research also points us to what you should be doing to get it right in a relationship!
Here are the 3 things you must do to make your relationship work:
- Know your partner very well: It was where the Masters scored over the Disasters. John refers to getting to know your partner as building ‘love maps’.
In his words, “A love map is like a road map you make of your partner’s internal psychological world. The Masters were always asking questions about their partner and disclosing personal details about themselves.”
- Respond positively to the ‘bids’ to attention: Your partner is many times trying to catch your attention, with little questions and remarks. Gottman calls these ‘bids’.
So if your partner asks you about the weather or politics, if you agree with your partner and tells him/her that, it’s that much better for your relationship.
- Show admiration:
It’s not just okay, but in fact, it is good to be a little delusional about your partner and think the World of him/her.
So, there you have it – what you should do and shouldn’t do in a relationship, to make it work.