THE RISKY PARADOX OF LOVE: THE MORE YOU GIVE, THE MORE YOU FEEL
Love is often perceived as this easy thing that everyone is capable of doing. I find this to be untrue. To love and be loved can create anxiety.
To have the faith that we are lovable and beautiful with our scars, not just temporarily, but permanently in our own heart, is a questionable endeavor for many. Even I am not immune to the protective armor we wear to guard our fragile bleeding hearts.
I remember sitting in my psychoanalyst’s office talking about a new relationship I was starting. I told my analyst that my mind was jumping to conclusions. “Maybe she wants children right now and I’m not ready for that,” I said to him. “She doesn’t text very often because she’s busy working an amazing job. I don’t think she has time for me.”
THE DEATH OF LOVE ISN’T NATURAL: THE 7 STEPS TO SEPARATION
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source, it dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds, it dies of weariness, of witherings, or tarnishings, but never a natural death.” – Anais Nin
Marriages rarely end overnight. They tend to unravel over time, in ways that are now fairly predictable thanks to research by Dr. John Gottman. In 1986 Dr. Gottman and his colleagues built a Love Lab to learn the secrets of lasting love and understand why love dies.
By studying couples for over 40 years, Dr. Gottman could predict with a 90% accuracy which marriage would fail, and which would succeed. These are the factors he found most often contribute to the dissolution of a marriage:
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ARROGANCE
5 reasons that arrogant people (regrettably) often succeed
Raise your hand if you like arrogant people?! … Just as I figured – no hands! Hey, I’m with you!
I work with a lot of people and, over the years, I have come to truly believe that there is at least a splash of good in each and every person. And that we all have a ticket on the same ride. I try to be forgiving and I try to respect others as best I can.
This said, if there is one quality in others that gets my goat, it is arrogance. In an article summarizing a provocative set of studies, Johnson, Silverman, Shyamsunder, Swee, Rodopman, Cho, and Bauer (2010, p. 405) define arrogance as “stable belief of superiority and exaggerated self-importance that are manifested with excessive and presumptuous claims.” Sounds about right. We all know one. He or she might belittle you without warning in any context. This person almost definitely talks behind your back. And you go out of your way to avoid having to have interactions with this person as you fear that such interactions may leave you feeling bad for any number of reasons.
DEBUNKING 5 MYTHS ABOUT PREMARITAL CONFLICT
Life experiences, family dynamics, and the influence of society generate many ideas of what a marriage should look like, especially when it comes to wedding planning and handling conflict. What people often forget is that the wedding itself is a symbol of something much greater: a marriage.
Young couples are often thrown off when conflict arises during the wedding-planning process. Isn’t this supposed to be the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship? It certainly can be. But sometimes, people choose to completely deny and avoid any premarital conflict in order to “keep the peace” and convince themselves that they have found the “perfect” partner.
The reality is that tension and stress (hello, wedding planning) will often become the fertile ground for conflict and your differences to emerge. It’s essential to have a grasp on what some of the damaging myths are that our world continues to hold about conflict, and what that means for your relationship.
7 DAILY RITUALS INTENTIONAL COUPLES USE TO CULTIVATE LASTING LOVE
Due to the daily pressures, distractions, and dynamics of modern life, a romantic couple doesn’t have to be dysfunctional to grow distant over time. Long working hours and the demands of raising children can push date night, sex, and romantic vacations to last place on the priority list.
Researchers at UCLA observed 30 dual-career couples with young children to understand the daily challenges for finding opportunities to build strong relationships and families. They discovered that these couples:
- Spend less than 10% of their time at home with each other and without their children around
- Are career-focused with long working hours (partner one) and a have a double burden of work and childcare (partner two)
- Prioritize children and household needs over the needs of their spouse or self
- Become more like roommates, drifting apart emotionally and physically
- Miss important opportunities to connect emotionally on a daily basis
5 WAYS TO MAKE SMALL GESTURES COUNT IN YOUR MARRIAGE
One of the things that Jake appreciates about Kristin is her way of showing love through her actions. Jake puts it like this: “When I come home after a long day and Kristin is there, she usually gives me a hug and wants to know how my day went.”
According to a new study by researchers at Penn State University, you don’t need grand gestures to show your partner love. In fact, this team found that small gestures, such as hugging, holding hands, and regular acts of kindness all top the list of how most Americans report feeling loved and appreciated.
Kristin explains: “It’s the everyday moments that matter. Jake and I have found that little things make a difference. When I forgot to pay my cell phone bill, Jake noticed it lying on the counter unopened and quickly called in the payment so it wouldn’t be late.”
SELF CARE: CHERISHING YOURSELF AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP
In Wednesday’s posting on The Gottman Relationship Blog, in which we shared a recent study out of UC Berkeley on the relationship between sleep and relationship conflict, we brought up the importance of cultivating good habits in self care, one of the most critical tools in maintaining healthy relationships. This weekend, we offer you a few of Dr. Gottman’s tips for goal-setting and stress management! We hope that the following lists will help you as you work to find balance and create a healthier lifestyle, both for yourself and for your relationship.
DR. GOTTMAN’S TIPS FOR GOAL SETTING:
- Make your goals specific and measurable. Rather than telling your partner that you would like to talk more, suggest that you go on a date every other Saturday. Leave the kids with the babysitter and find some time for just the two of you.
- Think about the pros and cons of making healthy changes. If we stick with the example above, we could imagine that a pro would be the ability to feel closer to each other and relax (at a favorite dinner spot, on a jaunt through a beloved park, in a cozy cafe), and a con could be the price of the babysitter.
CHOOSE MEANING AND LIVE BETTER
When should we tune out (and into) our biases?
We have a bad habit of focusing on people’s superficial, negative qualities. Happiness and fulfillment can be gained by giving weight to what should ultimately guide our behavior: people’s profound, positive qualities. Appreciating these aspects of individuals fosters meaningful and mutually beneficial experiences.
Understanding and Combating Biases
Bias has been getting a lot of attention lately due to a growing understanding of the influences it has on our actions and attitudes outside of our awareness (Banaji & Greenwald, 2013). A phenomenon called negativity bias makes us far more sensitive to negative things than to positive ones. If two disparate events are of equivalent strength, the event that is negative will elicit much greater psychological activity and will impact behavior more (Baumeister, et al., 2001). Evolutionarily, this makes sense as it protects us from harm, but if our default is to dwell on the negative and to ignore the positive, then how can we hope to be happy, optimistic people?
10 “NOTES TO SELF” THAT WILL STOP YOU FROM TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY
Let’s start off with a simple question:
Why do we always take things so personally?
There are admittedly quite a few viable and valid answers to consider. But, the one Angel and I have found to be most common through a decade of one-on-one coaching with our course students and live event attendees is the tendency we all have of putting ourselves at the center, and seeing everything—every event, conversation, circumstance, etc.—from the viewpoint of how it relates to us on a personal level. And this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling hurt when other people are rude, to feeling sorry for ourselves when things don’t go exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect.