Hi and Welcome to Happily Ever Mom!
Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite topics: marriage. More specifically, how you can keep your marriage together with one simple change (yes, really!).
So, I have to tell you that my Dad is a therapist.
Why does it matter? You might be thinking…
Because I’ve overheard conversations about cognitive behavioral therapy long before I could walk (okay, maybe not really…I can’t remember that far back, but it sure *feels* that way). So, I just can’t help but to pay attention to matters of psychology and relationships.
Which means that it’s NO surprise that I ripped open (er…clicked quickly?) the email that read: what couples DO that keep them together? That’s when I read about the magic ratio and, I’m telling you, it’s helped my husband and I already…
The email took me to a page that talked about John Gottman.
He’s the researcher who coined the term, magic ratio, and it’s fascinating to read about how powerful his research truly is…
Who is Gottman (and Why Should You Care?)
You can read in depth about Gottman and about his scientific research, but Gottman is a researcher dedicated to figuring out what makes marriage work and predictors of divorce. He’s got over 40 published books including, The Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work (<– affiliate link), and so many others.
Can you see why he is on my radar?
I’ve been married to my husband for over eight years and, while we did get married young, we’re not naive…we know that every marriage takes effort.
So, the question that I’ve been asking lately is…
What can my husband and I do right now to keep our marriage on track?
The Magic Ratio
With two kids, a dog, and two cats along with two working parents and various commitments, I don’t want my marriage to get lost in the shuffle.
And, while I appreciate suggestions like, go out on a date or find time for each other, I wanted to find something that we could put into practice daily admist the busy landscape that is our life.
Enter the Magic Ratio.
Gottman argues that the ratio between positive interactions and negative interactions is what predicts the future success of any couple.
What is that magic ratio you might be wondering?
In other words, one negative interaction to five positive interactions.
For example, if my husband and I have a negative exchange over the dishes (*ahem* who doesn’t…?) then we would need to have five positive interactions to balance that back out.
The idea is that if the ratio is lower (say, 1:2), then our reservoir of positive feeling (Gottman’s coined term – read more about it here) dry up and deeper problems start to arise. Problems that can lead to the end of the relationship or marriage.
Okay, so we have to be perfect?
Gottman never claims that relationships can be (or should be) complaint free, but rather that our efforts should be focused on positive gestures (smile, slight touch, etc.) and positive exchanges to help balance out the negative.
And, I’m hear to tell you, just talking with my husband about this magic ratio has helped us already. We’re both making a conscious effort to have more positive interactions.
And, sometimes, an extra hug or smile really does make all the difference…