John and Julie Gottman are considered the foremost experts in couples therapy and being able to predict if a relationship will last, or not. Rather than discuss the signs of what they call a “disaster” I want to relay what they found to be a predominant precursor to what they term a “master” — a successful relationship.
In the simplest terms, the Gottmans said that couples who respond to each other’s “bids” for connection. Basically, being interested in what the other person is saying. The Gottman’s research showed that 87% of successful couples responded correctly to their partner’s bids. This begins with being a good listener and extends to selflessness. If you are busy scrolling through Facebook when your significant other asks you a question, do you put down your phone/tablet/laptop and turn toward your partner to engage, or do you not even flinch and answer half-heartedly?
Hint: the former is good, the latter is not. What do you do?
If you’re interested in learning more about the Gottmans, start with this article.