Prof. John Gottman american psychologist and couple therapist has done much research (with his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz- Gottman) concerning the question what makes happy and unhappy relationships. On the basis of the results he has developed a therapy program for couples. According to Gottman couples who see their relationships as happy don’t let the negative thoughts and feelings (which exist in all relationships also the happy ones) smother the positive ones- they have an emotionally intelligent relationship.
Gottman states couples who live in a happy marriage/ relationship have 7 secrets:
- they are familiar with the world of their partner
- they cultivate affection and admiration for one another
- they turn towards each other and not away
- they let their partner influence them
- they solve the solvable problems
- they overcome situations where they are stuck
- they create joint meaning
The basis of happy relationships is friendship. This is reflected in respect for one another and wanting to spend time together. If couples don’t feel happy any more they may have neglected the friendship aspects of their relationship. Making a conscious effort to focus more on being friends with ones partner may strengthen the relationship. However if this doesn’t improve the relationship, it may be time to seek professional help. People who live in a happy relationship are healthier and live longer than couples whose relationship is unhappy- it seems to be worth it to make an effort.