Five Date Nights Equal One Fight Night

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol, talking about marriage, relationships and getting what you want from them.

In this episode I’m going to talk about one of my favorite researchers, John Gottman, and his key advice that it takes five positive interactions with your partner, in order to cancel out one negative interaction with your partner. The reason you have this five to one ratio, is that negative experiences tend to hit us more powerfully than positive experiences make us feel better. So as an example of that, you could spend a lot of time on your appearance and you might get five compliments and feel good about it, but those five complements will only really balance out that one negative statement you got. So this five to one ration is incredibly important. It’s going to take five +1 moments in your week to cancel out one negative experience with your partner.

If that sounds vaguely abstract, let me explain it to you in a way that is really hopefully going to get your attention. It’s going to take five good date nights to cancel out one night of some sort of extended fight about nothing.

When you think of it like that, it starts becoming clearer about how much attention you have to give to your relationship in terms of focusing on the positive as opposed to really dwelling on the negative. If it takes five nights of being good to raise your relationship up and build positive momentum, and it just takes one horrible experience to start dragging it down, you really have to pay attention and be mindful.

Now there is some good news with thinking of each positive experience as a +1 moment, and each negative experience as a -5 moment. During any one week, you’re going to have this smattering of +1 moments as you go through your normal routines. If you can identify what the -5 events are and eliminate them, it may not require might effort. Just cut out the fights about nothing. Cut out the petty name calling. Cut out the stonewalling. If you can cut them out, you may not need to do much else to improve the relationship momentum in your marriage.

You were already doing good things. Say you routinely had five +1 events which you cancel out with a -5, if you do that week after week your relationship will be exactly where it is. But if you only did three +1 events and remove the -5, without trying that hard, you’re up three points for the week. You’re building momentum. The relationship is getting to a better place.

Sometimes it’s not about learning a whole bunch of new tips and tricks, having to completely change your life. Sometimes it’s just about eliminating core mistakes that you are making. Once they are gone, everything is a whole lot easier. Quite often when I’m coaching people, they’re surprised at how little work it is sometimes. Some of the most productive weeks have no particular focus other than cutting out the big negative moments.

The truth is, the person that married you usually likes you. They want to feel happy in the relationship. They want to feel loved and attracted. They want to be in a place where they feel sexy. They want the relationship to work. So sometimes you just have to get out of your own way, stop creating chaos, stop neglecting your partner, or doing dumb stuff that is obviously offending them and driving them away. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop the mistakes rather than trying to find out a whole bunch of new tips and tricks to forge your way ahead. The tips and tricks are good, they are. But they’re not going to be anything if you can’t eliminate the greatest mistakes that you’re making.

So that’s about it for today. Please like, share, comment and subscribe and I will talk to you tomorrow.

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