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01st Nov 2016

These Are The Two Traits That ALL The Best Relationships Have (According To Science)

Amanda Cassidy

Clint Eastwood once said, “Marriages are made in heaven, but then again … so are thunder and lightning.”

How right he was! Then add children into the mix (aka mini thunderbolts) and your storm, although perfect, is often very stormy.

There are countless relationship experts and guides dedicated to the Great Art of Staying in Love. And while we are all eager to know the ‘secret’ to a successful marriage, one man has dedicated his life’s work to finding out exactly what all great relationships have in common

Psychologist, John Gottman, began his social study of relationships in the 1970’s and has been unlocking those secrets for over 40 years. He runs the Gottman Institute in New York which is devoted to help couples build lasting relationships based on science.

Loving couple in bed.

In an interview with the Business Insider, he explains how he observed newlywed couples in a lab nicknamed ‘The Love Lab’. They were hooked up to electrodes and asked questions about their partner. The electrodes measured their heart rate and blood flow and then six years later researchers followed up with the couples.

They separated the couples into two categories – Masters and Disasters. Masters were calm and collected, even in a conflict. While disasters were defensive, prepared to attack or be attacked.

He deduced from his study that the two most important traits to have in lasting relationships were; To be kind to each other and to be generous to each other.

Gottman’s wife, Julie, is also a psychologist, she says it’s simply a matter of perspective;

“It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right, or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong, and criticising versus respecting him and expressing appreciation. If your partner expresses a need, and you are tired, stressed or distracted, then the generous spirit comes in when a partner makes a bid, and you still turn toward your partner.”

We all know it is nice to be nice and I realise that snapping at my partner because I am over-tired is likely to cause conflict, but sometimes it is nice to realise that the simple art of being kind is more likely to lead to our own happily ever after.

That’s it, I’m off to offer hubby a nice cup of tea.