Amy Alkon is a science writer who did a piece in Psychology Today about John Gottman, the grandfather of couples counseling. I did the same a few years back.
She notes, “A happy relationship is actually made out of dozens of little daily shows of attention to one’s partner—sometimes of the most mundane kind: a grunted yes, the crack of a smile, a nod. These are responses to what marriage researchers John Gottman and Janice Driver call “bids for connection.” They are the many small attempts people in relationships make to get their partner’s attention, affection, or emotional support…
You can respond to this “bid” in one of three ways: Ignore the bid (“turn away”), express irritation (“turn against”), or reply lovingly (“turn toward”)…
In Gottman and Driver’s research, they observed the interactions of just-married couples and then checked in with them six years later. At the six-year mark, the couples who were still married were those who’d initially “turned toward” each other 86% of the time, on average. The couples who ended up divorced had a 33% turn-toward rate.”
It’s not the grand gesture – the romantic dinner, the diamond earrings, the fancy vacation – that ultimately determines the success of your marriage. It’s the quality of your daily interactions.
It’s easy to say that this study is akin to a researcher determining that water is wet or that people can be mean on the internet. But it’s actually a profound insight into what makes relationships work. It’s not the grand gesture – the romantic dinner, the diamond earrings, the fancy vacation – that ultimately determines the success of your marriage. It’s the quality of your daily interactions.
If you choose a man who is kind, attentive and affirming, you’re going to have a much happier partnership than if you choose a guy who tells you he loves you but treats you like shit. Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.