MAS­TER OR DIS­AS­TER

THIS STUDY FOUND TWO TYPES OF COU­PLES; THE ONES WHO LASTED AND THE ONES WHO DIDN’T BUT WHAT SET THEM APART? AND HOW CAN WE CHANGE OUR FATE?

Life & Style Weekend - - RELATIONSH­IPS - Joanne is a neu­ropsy­chother­a­pist and re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist. Fol­low Jo on Face­book at The con­fi­dante coun­selling and on In­sta­gram @the.con­fi­dante WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON

We’re up to the final part of my in­ten­tional re­la­tion­ship se­ries where I’m of­fer­ing great tips to “level up” your re­la­tion­ship. So far we’ve cov­ered:

■ Seek­ing and al­low­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ity

■ Con­sid­er­ing if you’re with­hold­ing love?

■ Which is more im­por­tant? Turn­ing to­ward your part­ner or turn­ing them on?

To­day we’re fo­cussing on how we can be­come masters ver­sus the dreaded dis­as­ters in our re­la­tion­ships?

This term refers to Dr John Gottman’s re­search that an­a­lysed mar­ried cou­ples over

a span of six years.

It found those still hap­pily to­gether at the six-year mark “turned to­ward” each other 87 per cent of the time. These cou­ples were called the “masters”.

By con­trast, the cou­ples that had fallen apart – la­belled, very bluntly as the “dis­as­ters,” only man­aged to turn to­wards and con­nect three times out of 10.

How can we strive to turn to­ward our part­ners more of­ten to give them as much en­gage­ment and at­ten­tion we’re ca­pa­ble of ?

1. LOOK FOR THE POS­I­TIVES: Masters view their en­vi­ron­ment and their part­ners more ap­pre­cia­tively. They cre­ate an air of re­spect and grat­i­tude for one an­other, mak­ing it eas­ier to en­gage with their bids for at­ten­tion.

2. DIS­AGREE RE­SPECT­FULLY: Dis­as­ter cou­ples look at their lives and part­ners neg­a­tively.

They get hung up on any fail­ing, no mat­ter how in­con­se­quen­tial. Cou­ples that find them­selves tear­ing at each other dis­re­spect­fully are on an ex­press el­e­va­tor to sep­a­ra­tion.

If you need to ex­press it, con­sider your de­liv­ery and use words to con­vey the im­pact of their be­hav­iour.

3. UN­DER­STAND WHY YOU AR­GUE: Many ar­gu­ments stem from a sense of dis­con­nec­tion.

It is not about the dish­washer or toi­let seat. It is about whether the other per­son has your back.

Un­der­neath we can fear aban­don­ment. Fear turns to anger and we lash out at the per­son we’re ter­ri­fied of living with­out.

When you un­der­stand how in­sid­i­ous this fear of dis­con­nec­tion truly is, it’s eas­ier to put the ef­fort into those “bids” for con­nec­tion.

4. EN­JOY IN­DI­VID­U­AL­ITY: You and your part­ner are not clones. For all your sim­i­lar­i­ties, you have dif­fer­ent tastes and in­ter­ests.

Let your part­ner know how much some­thing means to you.

They don’t need to nec­es­sar­ily par­take in ev­ery­thing with you but know that it is mean­ing­ful.

5. BE KIND: If your part­ner is down in the dumps and you’re tired and laid out on the couch, it can be the great­est gift in the world to get up and hold them tight. It’s these small ges­tures, these small ex­pres­sions of kind­ness and com­pas­sion, that ex­em­plify turn­ing to­wards your part­ner when they need it.

Un­der­stand­ing the mag­ni­tude of ac­knowl­edg­ing “bids”, builds a stronger re­la­tion­ship that in­evitably turns ev­ery­thing else on as well.

Tune in to Salt 106.5 each Fri­day for my fun chat with Kris­tian on the break­fast show.

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