If You Can Answer Yes to These 10 Questions, Your Relationship Is Stronger Than You Think
When it comes to maintaining happy relationships (both romantic and professional), you may have heard of the magic 5:1 ratio. Developed by famed couples therapist John Gottman, the rule states that if you want your relationship to thrive, make sure you and your partner have five positive interactions for every negative one.
Why is the proportion of happy times to sad ones so lopsided? The rule is rooted in a wider truth about human psychology: we’re wired to be biased toward the negative. While we barely notice success and let compliments go in one ear and out the other, we remember every setback and slight, and often ruminate about the smallest failures for days or weeks.
This bias helped us avoid hungry lions back in the day, but now according to a new book by Gary Lewandowski Jr., it might be taking a serious toll on your relationship. As Lewandowski, a psychologist who studies the science of healthy relationships, writes on the Greater Good Science Center, our negativity bias “makes us more critical of our relationship than we should be. Along the way, we take the good times for granted and they become an under-appreciated part of our partnership.”
The solution for many of us, he argues, is to remind ourselves just how good we have it with our current partners. Sure, you might bicker about the laundry or get irritated at their constant presence during the pandemic, but if you can answer yes to the following questions, Lewandowski insists your relationship is probably a lot stronger than you sometimes think. Fight back against your bias for the negative and celebrate that fact.
- Can you be yourself? If you can honestly say “you and your partner accept each other for who you are; you don’t try to change each other. You can simply be yourself and show your true identity without worrying if your partner will judge you,” that’s the first sign you’re doing alright, according to Lewandowski.
- Are you BFFs? Think being best buds with your partner will kill the romance? Research actually suggests “that romantic partners who emphasize friendship tend to be more committed and experience more sexual gratification,” Lewandowski reports.
- Do you feel…