Just like recipe books for dinner, and cement mixes for sky scrapers, there are certain ingredients that make marriages stronger. Depending on the combination of things you put in every day, you can either make your relationship weaker or build it to last for the rest of your life.
I have been blessed to have many teachers and mentors in my life and one of the greatest blessings of all has been all of the wisdom I have gained from books.
Many of my favorite marriage books have been written by the same team at the Gottman Institute. John Gottman and his wife Julie, along with a team of researchers have identified the elements that make marriages work so they could teach us how to replicate their research in our own homes every day.
This week over on ModernMarried’s Facebook Page, we are celebrating Gottman Week with a different inspirational quote or mini-lab assignment every day. My favorite so far is the Six-Second Kiss. I *love* homework that involved kissing, cuddling or going on a date with my favorite person!
One of my favorite of all Gottman’s findings is that, “In a strong relationship, couples have feelings of appreciation and respect for each other even when they argue or feel unhappy with the way that things are going.” [Gottman Blog].
Along with this finding, Gottman provides a list of positive thoughts from his excellent book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” along with a little “love-work” assignment to accompany each thought.
The idea is to use each thought and task to find something good about your partner or your relationship and focus on it, celebrate it and add it as a deposit in your emotional bank account.
Our emotional bank accounts are just like our monetary ones – they need constant deposits or they will get overdrawn.
To build a love account filled with fondness and admiration, we all need to learn how to make deposits. Gottman is brilliant at taking this concept and giving us simple steps we can implement easily in our relationships to get immediate positive results.
Here are a couple of examples:
Thought: My partner has specific qualities that make me proud.
Task: Write down one characteristic that makes you proud
Suggestion from me – Tell your lovely why you are proud of them. Do it today!
Thought: I was really lucky to meet my partner.
Task: List one benefit that being in a relationship with your partner offers.
Suggestion from me: Add one benefit that your partner receives from being in a relationship with you. Value what you have to give every day. Hugs count. So does making sandwiches.
You can find the whole list at the Gottman Blog here.
What will you deposit in your emotional bank account today? Do you have a favorite marriage book? Please share in the comments.