“A little magic can take you a long way.” Roald Dahl

Couple in a magic landscape.

There is magic in relationships. I swear! Dr. Gottman discovered, from research on thousands of couples, that certain couples had what it took to succeed. One of the things he found was a magic ratio. The couples who were successful over the long haul had a ratio of five positive interactions for every negative one in their conflict discussions and a ratio of 20:1 in everyday interactions.

Wow! So think back to the last tiff you had with your sweety. Maybe it was about that thing that bothers them about the lines at the grocery stores these days. It doesn’t bother you, but you hear them talking about it again. Did you sigh grumpily? Or maybe make a sharp comment? What successful couples tend to do is balance these moments with a positive or neutralizing gesture. It could be gentle humor, eye contact, a listening queue, saying something supportive or physical contact (a shoulder bump, pat on the hand, etc.). In short, moments of appreciation and affection. Five times more of these kinds of interactions than the grumpy or sharp moments.

In everyday life, without conflict, the ratio in a successful relationship jumps to 20:1. These are just as important. The concept is the same, though. More positive than negative. So my advice? Take stock of how often you have positive interactions and compare them to the negative moments. If the ratio is off, look for moments to build positive interactions back into your relationship. For some ideas on how to do this, check out: How to Create Appreciation and Gratitude in Your Relationship, Date Night Blues and Rituals Are Not Just for Religion and Bedtime.

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A Survival Kit for Your Relationship

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LeMel Firestone-Palerm, LMFT, LPCC, CGT
LeMel Firestone-Palerm, LMFT, LPCC, CGT About LeMel...
Helping Create Healthy Relationships Since 1997
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFC 42162
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor LPC 1534
Certified Gottman Therapist