3 Ways To Show Your Partner You Love Them
Dr John Gottman’s research is extensive in how to honour your partner, and your relationship. We teach these skills consistently in our couples therapy work, as well as in our workshops. Here are just some quick skills that you can put into place immediately, with relative ease, but for hopefully large gain.
1. Give Appreciations
2. Validate Each Other
3. The Six Second Kiss
It’s very easy to recognize and comment on what our partner does wrong – we’re often very sensitive to what upsets us, especially if our relationship is in a state Negative Sentiment Override (focused on negativity; a big topic on its own).
Rather than focusing on what our partner doesn’t do right, see what happens when you comment on the things they do do right. Use the “I Appreciate” skill – start off by saying WHAT you appreciate about them, and then give an EXAMPLE of WHEN they did what you appreciate. This helps build a Culture of Appreciation, and promotes Positive Sentiment Override.
Validate Each Other
This can be a difficult skill if we don’t have a correct understanding about what it is to validate. People often think that validation is the same as agreeing with someone – “Why should I validate her if I don’t agree with her?”, “I just can’t validate his point of view because it’s so far from what I believe!” In these two examples, the partners have missed the point of what it is to validate.
Validation means that you treat the person in a way that makes them feel important, valued and worthy. Examples of how to validate each other might be, “I see what you’re saying”, or “that’s a fair point”, or “I never looked at it that way”. Non-verbal examples of validation might be maintaining respectful eye contact, nodding, or having an open posture facing towards your partner.
None of these examples necessarily communicate that you agree (you may or may not agree), but they show your partner that you don’t think that they’re crazy for having a different point of view, and it makes sense to you that one could reasonably think that way.
The Six Second Kiss
Gottman research shows that the Masters of relationships often give each other a lingering six second kiss – count it: one, two, three, four, five, six. Long isn’t it? But this creates intimacy and closeness.
Think back to how long your kisses were when you were first dating. I bet they were even longer than six seconds! To dedicate six seconds for physical intimacy, as often as reasonably possible, is nothing out of your day, but goes a long way in building your Emotional Bank Account.
Try these quick and easy skills out with conscientiousness and consistency, and see what they do for your relationship.
If you would like to learn more about how to repair, restore or strengthen your relationship then come along to our Gottman workshop, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and learn what it is to really love.
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Reference: Gottman, John, M. and Silver, Nan. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.