A Blueprint for Lasting Love: Building the Sound Relationship House
Relationships, much like the homes we live in, require a solid foundation and well-maintained structure to withstand the tests of time. Dr. John and Julie Gottman, renowned relationship experts, have provided couples with just that—a blueprint for building and maintaining a healthy, enduring relationship. They call it the Sound Relationship House (SRH) theory. Whether in the honeymoon phase or celebrating decades together, understanding the SRH can provide the tools to construct a lasting love.
The Two Pillars: Trust & Commitment
Holding up this house are two indispensable pillars—Trust and Commitment. Trust is believing your partner thinks about you and factors you when decision-making that might have an impact on your feelings and well-being. And commitment is the unwavering belief in a shared future, regardless of the challenges that arise.
1. Build Love Maps:
The first floor of our relationship house starts with ‘Love Maps.’ It’s our knowledge about our partner’s world—their likes, dislikes, worries, hopes, and more. To build this map, make it a habit to ask open-ended questions. By understanding your partner’s daily experiences and deepest dreams, you create a map that guides you through the complexities of their heart.
2. Share Fondness and Admiration:
The second layer emphasizes the power of positive thinking. Regularly express appreciation, respect, and affection. These expressions act as the bricks that fortify the relationship, reminding both partners of their shared bond and mutual respect.
3. Turn Towards Instead of Away:
Imagine your partner making small attempts to connect—a comment on the weather, sharing a joke, or seeking an opinion. These are termed “bids for connection.” Responding positively to these bids, or ‘turning towards’ your partner, reinforces the relationship’s emotional bank account. Over time, these small moments of connection build trust and affection.
4. The Positive Perspective:
When a relationship has a strong foundation, there’s a positive filter through which partners see each other’s actions. Even in conflict, they give each other the benefit of the doubt. This perspective stems from the previous layers of the house and aids in conflict management.
5. Manage Conflict:
Conflicts are natural, but it’s how we handle them that determines the health of our relationship. The Gottmans suggest approaching disagreements gently, listening actively, and finding common ground.
6. Make Life Dreams Come True:
In any long-term relationship, it’s essential to understand and support each other’s aspirations. Whether it’s a career move, a personal passion, or a shared goal, ensuring that both partners feel understood and supported in their dreams solidifies the relationship’s bond.
7. Create Shared Meaning:
At the top of the Sound Relationship House, we find ‘Shared Meaning.’ It’s about building a life together that’s rich in rituals, roles, and goals. It might be as simple as having a coffee ritual every morning or as profound as shared spiritual beliefs. This shared narrative binds couples together, making their bond unique and enduring.
Incorporating the Sound Relationship House into your relationship might feel like a refurbishing project. It takes time, effort, and patience. But with each layer you build or reinforce, you’re one step closer to a relationship that’s robust, resilient, and filled with mutual love and respect.
I wish you all the best.