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The beginning of a romantic relationship is so amazing. You walk on cloud nine. The world somehow seems brighter and everything you do has a glow around it. Even when problems do arise, you’re able to brush them off, minimize them, or feel confident that they’re going to get better. After all, you’re in love!!
The early days are often spent together talking, kissing, having fun, going out for dinner, doing activities together, and getting to know each another. It’s natural for you to focus on each another and as you do, your friendship and love can grow into appreciation, pride, and admiration.
These are the building blocks of a sound relationship house. John Gottman and his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman, developed the Sound Relationship House approach after over forty years of researching couples—what helped them stay together—and what made it a lot more difficult to for them to last.
They talk about friendship and connection as being the basis of a sound relationship. Couples who really know one another’s worlds, who like the other person, who talk with one another and support each other in buffering outside stresses often have a solid relationship.
This strong relationship foundation also influences how positive or negative couples may feel about the relationship. When your friendship is strong and you’re connecting with each other in a way that works for both of you, you’re more likely to give each another the benefit of the doubt. For example when your partner snaps at you unprovoked and the relationship is strong, you may rationalize it by saying to yourself that s/he’s been stressed at work lately. It’s not about you, him/her–or the relationship.
Using that same example, when you feel really good about your relationship, you’re more likely to brush off the incident as insignificant or unimportant. You may also be less likely to notice if it’s happened a few times lately, or if you have, you’re not vigilant in watching for more evidence that your partner is going to do something negative again.
Being positive about your relationship means you can let things roll off your back when your partner says something irritating or annoying. But when you’re feeling negative, those same incidents can become evidence of mistreatment that sticks instead of rolling off.
Feeling positive about the relationship also helps you bite your tongue when your partner does something inconsiderate, stupid, differently, or at least not the way you’d do it. I once heard a quote about biting your tongue:
“As well as our relationship is doing is indicated by the number of bite marks on our tongues.”
When you’re thinking things are bad, chances are there’s not many bite marks.
Having a positive perspective on your relationship means you’re also able to put things in perspective and see them realistically when something negative does happen. Conversely, when you feel negatively about your relationship, you can make a mountain out of a molehill.
How positive you are about your relationship influences how well the two of you get along. When you’re hyper-vigilant for wrongdoing, hypersensitive, don’t let things roll of your back, don’t give your partner the benefit of the doubt, and don’t bit your tongue, your relationship is headed for trouble if it’s not already in the thick of it.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your relationship. Working on your friendship is certainly one of them. Get to know each other’s worlds again. Find things to like about your partner. Pay attention to what you’re saying about him/her to yourself or others when you’re apart. Finally, take the time to re-connect. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. A positive relationship is positively amazing!