New website is up at www.optimizingrelationships.com. Please visit there!
When I met my long-term partner, we had our first big fight at 6 months.
Up until that point I had said here and there to him that I wanted an exceptional relationship - not just a good one.
And there we were, at less than a year in, when we first crossed the good-to-exceptional line.
After we fought when we were both calmer, I handed him a packet and asked him to read it (I really did this). This packet was full of John Gottman's research into relationships (he is "the" relationship guru/relationship scientist).
This packet explained how couples get in trouble, and head towards breaking up, and what to do instead to avoid this - along with a bunch of other stuff.
I said to him, please read this. I really believe in it (I do, and at that point I'd been teaching it for years to my communication students at Eastern Michigan University inside their normal course curriculum).
Then I told him, this is not only going to make our relationship amazing if we both are applying this stuff... it's also my life's passion. I want to teach this, share it, and help couples everywhere. And I need to be with someone who not only gets this, but is on board with living it as well and being supportive as I fulfill a dream.
Guess what.. he said yes! :) And now we are really living out this reality, and I am grateful every day.
I truly believe that unless you are one of those rare couples who just never fight, and never have issues, never drift apart, etc., you can benefit from learning this stuff too.
So some time passed after this... and eventually, I went out to The Gottman Institute in Seattle and received training as a Gottman "Educator" - so I could "officially" begin teaching couples - and I've been doing this ever since.
So many people are reactive, not proactive, in their relationship - or you are proactive, but your partner is reactive/not open to growth. I get it, I hear this all the time. Or you're happy in your dysfunction, that's another one. I could go on about these, but I won't, here.
The truth is, deciding that you want the "best" in your relationship IS the way to go. Do not lower your expectations (research also shows high expectations = better relationship).
This knowledge, and the above interaction, really changed my life and has impacted every relationship I'm in, too.
Thank you for visiting - I hope you catch some of this passion and your relationship is better for it!
P.S. I mentioned I trained at the Gottman Institute, right? Well, here are some facts from their 40+ years of research, some of which may surprise you.
- 70% of conflict will never be resolved
- Men and women both want the same thing - a great friendship with their partner
- A great friendship = key to great sex, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction
- One key to conflict is that you both need to be comfortable with the way the other handles conflict; you need to be able to deal with conflict in a manner that is compatible, so both people are satisfied
- Divorce within 5 years is able to be predicted with over 90% accuracy after listening to a couple argue for 5 minutes
- It's not all about communication - or conflict resolution
- MAJOR life events (i.e. new baby, loss of job, getting married) can change everything - being proactive at this time, or ahead of these times, is especially important!
- If you or your partner come from a divorced family, your chances of divorce are MUCH higher (another reason to be proactive)
- If you got to this point, ask yourself if you are proactive with the following: car maintenance, house maintenance, friendship maintenance, job situations... if yes, why would you not be proactive in your relationship?
"All this sounds great, Sarah, really. But what can I do
I'm glad you asked. And the answer is, it really depends on your situation and who you are in a relationship with. How does that person best experience love?
Then do that. Also, you can reach out to me for some guidance and coaching.
One of my missions is to lower the divorce rate! Please share my page/story/facebook page (www.facebook.com/optimizingrelationships) with anyone who may be interested. Knowledge=better love. Thanks!
Questions? Contact me via my current site, optimizingrelationships.com.