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Psychologists Find 5 Keys To A Lasting Relationship (That Are Seldom Mentioned)

Psychologists Find 5 Keys To A Lasting Relationship (That Are Seldom Mentioned)

Countless articles have been written about how to have a successful, long-lasting relationship or marriage, but none seem to be as simple and powerful as Dr. John Gottman’s ideas on what makes love last.

You see, many people cite “Irreconcilable differences” as the reason for broken relationships or divorce, but the idea that major differences in opinion end long-term relationships is actually a myth.

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According to Gottman, a leading researcher and psychologist who has spent the past 40 years researching what makes love work, it’s not a difference of opinion that ends relationships; it’s the inability to communicate differing opinions or accept them as equally valid. Essentially, relationships live and die not by the sword, but by the quality of communication.

Moreover, because having healthy relationships means so much to many of us, we often feel other people judge us based on our choice of partner. As a result, our sense of worthiness gets attached to who and how our partner is. We project what we want our partner to be onto who they are, and get frustrated and even dismissive when they don’t live up to our projections.

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If you are in a relationship and would like to know how you can make it strong and long-lasting, or you simply want to know what the chances of your relationship remaining intact over time are, there are five key points Dr. Gottman says you should look out for. These points will make any relationship more meaningful and long-lasting.

Gottman’s ideas for a lasting relationship should be common knowledge, but – unfortunately – they are seldom mentioned.

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1. You begin conversations as gently and kindly as you would with an esteemed coworker.

This is especially true when it comes to sensitive conversations. You don’t begin interactions with sarcasm, contempt, anger, blame, criticism, and the like because doing so causes defenses to rise and the ability to communicate dissolves. Instead, you are kind and gentle always because you believe your partner is a true equal, as opposed to someone who is “beneath you.” When you believe someone is your true “equal,” you regard them as well as you would want them to regard you.

2. You complain, but you don’t criticize.

Getting upset and complaining about things like the dishes not being done or the toilet seat being left up again is normal and almost inevitable in a healthy relationship. But, as soon as the moaning and complaining shifts from “I’m really angry with you for not doing the dishes” to “You’re stupid/lazy/disgusting/irresponsible for letting this happen,” the relationship is headed for real trouble.

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3. You are neither contemptuous to one another nor to other people.

Sadly, bullying tactics used in middle school, like name-calling, sneering, and mocking, are common in intimate relationships. But, relationships that employ these tactics don’t last. If you and your partner are not the type of people who would resort to that type of mentality to begin with, that is a good sign. It means you fight clean, and that will help your relationship weather many storms and last.

4. You are willing to absorb the blame so as to quell problems or bridge rifts.

You know it takes two to tango, and it takes two parties to create a problem. So, you are not always in defensive mode or determined to show your partner how and why they are wrong. You approach issues with “here’s how I think we got into this problem, and here’s how I’d like us to get out of it.”

5. You don’t “stonewall,” “tune out,” or ignore each other.

“Stonewalling” or “tuning out” your partner, particularly during rough patches in the relationship, is a sure way to hurt the relationship. Interestingly, Dr. Gottman’s research has shown that in 85% of marriages, men are the ones who “stonewall” their partners. Women are more capable of soothing themselves in stressful situations and so they are less standoffish or indignant about confrontation. Men — watch out for that.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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