Modern-day relationships can be challenging, especially when you’re juggling full-time work, familial obligations, and household responsibilities. This can cause tension or friction that makes the partnership feel less stable or susceptible to negative impacts.
If you’ve been feeling like your relationship has lost its sparkle or that it’s more of a struggle than it once was, know that It’s natural for your relationship to take a hit when ‘life happens.’
Thankfully, there are ways to strengthen your relationship; read on to discover how The Sound Relationship House can support you both as a couple.
The Sound Relationship House As A Model For Strong Couples
Gottman’s Sound Relationship House is a model of relationship health developed by renowned psychologist and researcher Dr. John Gottman.
Dr. Gottman is the Co-Founder of The Gottman Institute and is world-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, with over 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples.
Gottman’s Sound Relationship House is a metaphorical building consisting of seven floors and two walls, each representing an essential aspect of healthy relationships. When injuries occur in a relationship, as you can imagine, the floors/walls are damaged and need to be worked on.
Here are some ways you can work on improving the levels of the Sound Relationship House.
1.) UNDERSTAND YOUR PARTNER BETTER THROUGH LOVE-MAPS
The first floor of the Sound Relationship House focuses on creating Love Maps, which are both partners understanding each other’s inner world. This includes getting to know your partner’s history, goals, worries, strengths, values, likes and dislikes, stressors, and dreams. Creating these Love Maps helps couples better understand and feel known by each other.
2.) REMEMBER WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT EACH OTHER BY EXPRESSING FONDNESS & ADMIRATION
Another floor that is important to understand is about fostering fondness and admiration for each other. This includes appreciating the positive qualities of your partner, acknowledging their efforts, and telling (and showing) them that they are liked and valued.
3.) TURN TOWARDS, INSTEAD OF AGAINST EACH OTHER
It’s important to turn toward each other instead of away from or against each other during everyday interactions. When your partner makes a bid or attempt to connect with you through conversations, questions, and other verbal and nonverbal gestures, it’s important that you respond to them and not ignore or attack them.
4.) LEARN TO MANAGE CONFLICT, NOT ELIMINATE IT
Conflict is inevitable. The goal is to manage it well. Couples can learn many skills in this domain, including how to manage conflict through active listening, understand their partner’s point of view, and be willing to compromise when needed. There are many skills a Gottman certified therapist can teach you that will help you communicate through conflict more effectively.
5.) ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO HAVE A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE
Start noticing what’s good about your partner and relationship. Show appreciation. Allow them to change your mind. This will help create a positive perspective where you like your partner despite their shortcomings and mistakes.
6.) MAKE YOUR LIFE DREAMS COME TRUE BY RECONNECTING THROUGH SHARED VISION OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Partnership is also about making life dreams come true through mutual respect for each other. Through open communication and working as a team, couples can create a shared vision for the future that allows them both to reach not only their goals as a couple, but also their individual goals.
7.) RE-ESTABLISH TRUST THROUGH RADICAL HONESTY
Unfortunately, it’s easy to break someone’s trust. It takes time and dedication to rebuild trust once it’s been broken. By keeping promises, being honest with each other, and demonstrating dependability, a couple can start rebuilding trust.
8.) SHOWING COMMITMENT BY HONOURING DAILY PROMISES
Trust is built by choosing better on a daily basis. Keeping and honoring promises is a good place to start. It can be as small as sharing breakfast together each morning or as big as pooling finances together. Acts of commitment add up and truly heal the relationship.
9.) CREATE SHARED MEANING BY ESTABLISHING NEW TRADITIONS TOGETHER
What do you want your legacy as a couple to look like? What traditions do you want to have? Do you agree on the values that are important to you? Having these discussions can improve the sense of shared meaning in a relationship.
Just like building a house for the first time, it can seem inspiring and daunting at the same time. There are logistics to consider, external factors that may influence outcomes, and differences of opinion when it comes to styling and modeling the house. But with a shared vision, open communication, and strong support systems, you can turn this house into a stable home full of joyful memories.
Overall, there are many ways to become a strong couple, and when you commit to learning and growing together, you can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
If you’re interested in receiving more tangible tips on ways to improve your relationship or mental health, subscribe to our free bi-weekly newsletter today.