Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a mathematical formula that couples could shoot for as they consider their negative and positive interactions? Dr. Gottman, known for his careful research into couple interactions, has found one. But first a word about the usefulness of negative interactions.

Negative interactions aren’t all bad

Dr. Gottman’s balance theory suggests that negativity is important for a healthy relationship. This may be an uncommon assertion, but the idea is that negativity plays an important part in allowing couples to identify interaction patterns that aren’t working for them and eventually solve them. Negativity also serves the function of alerting a couple to differences in perspective, differences that will grow and change over time. Negativity takes shape in different ways depending on the couple; even relationships where it manifests as yelling aren’t necessarily doomed. Negativity may be necessary, but in moderation.

Positive interactions need to outnumber the bad

Gottman notes that couples who are doing well have five positive interactions for every negative interaction. So touch your partner, smile at her, pay him a compliment, give each other your undivided attention a few moments each day. Create a positive bank balance to counteract the negative.

 

Read the full article here: The Positive Perspective: Dr. Gottman’s Magic Ratio!