Save Your Relationship With A Sound Relationship House – Part One
The last few months have been very stressful for many people. What’s more, lockdown – whether together or apart – has caused a great deal of strain on relationships. So much so, that divorce enquiries have risen by as much as 75% in the last few weeks. However, if you’ve found that your relationship has been struggling recently; this doesn’t mean your relationship has to end. In this two-part series, I’ll be sharing my tips as a Harley Street relationship therapist as to how you can improve your relationship using Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Theory.
What Is Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Theory?
Devised by relationship therapist Julie and John Gottman, their Sound Relationship House theory explains all of the levels that are needed to build a healthy relationship. Just like a house needs strong foundations, this principle of creating a resilient relationship requires the same stable and fundamental layers.
This theory has been used by many therapists to improve relationships and help couples break through any barriers that they may be struggling with. Studies using this theory have shown that a Sound Relationship House can achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy within the relationship.
How To Build Your Sound Relationship House
The Foundations: Build Love Maps
The first aspect of the relationship to look at is the Love Maps. This is the firm foundation on which to build a successful relationship. Love Maps is where you deeply understand your partner so that you have an awareness of what’s going on in their world. This covers aspects such as their history, their worries, their stresses and what makes them happy.
Research shows that emotionally intelligent couples spend more time focusing on each other’s world. Furthermore, this is the real foundation of the relationship as unless you really know your partner, how can you truly love them?
The benefit of working on this stage is that you stay up to date with as much detail as possible about your partner. This way, you are less likely to be thrown off course by a seemingly out-of-the-blue decision, and you’ll be better prepared to support them with any stresses your partner may have.
How To Improve Your Love Maps
A relationship quiz can be a great way to test your knowledge about your partner and share stories that your partner may not know. This needs to be a light-hearted and playful. Otherwise, it could end up in a row! So, create a relaxed environment and ask each other questions such as:
- What stresses am I facing right now?
- What’s my greatest fear?
- Where is my favourite travel destination?
- What’s my ideal job?
- Name my most embarrassing moment
- What’s my favourite meal?
This is a great way to reconnect with your partner and remind yourself of some aspects of your partner that you may have forgotten. It can also be a great way to find out more about your partner; this might be a stage that you skipped in the early phase of your relationship.
The Basement: Fondness And Admiration
The second layer of the Sound Relationship House is a level of fondness and admiration. This is where you tell each other what you like and appreciate about them. The critical aspect of this level is that it builds affection and respect and ensures you are not taking them for granted.
For this stage, it is vital to show your partner that you still have a fondness for them. Often, in the early stages of relationships, couples frequently show their admiration for each other. However, this can quickly tail off as each person assumes the other person knows how they feel.
How To Improve Your Fondness And Admiration
Pick three adjectives that best describe your partner and then give a specific example of when they showed that quality. For example, My partner is… And they showed this when they…
You can also explain to each other which quality is the most important to you.
The Ground Floor: Turn Towards
For this stage, couples need to focus on supporting each other and showing each other that you are there for them. This can help your partner to know that you have their back when there are challenges or issues.
To help reinforce this stage, you want to establish that emotional connection by giving your partner attention, showing commitment and having fun that can put the fire back into your romance. This should be done daily through small gestures, such as putting your phone down and listening to them, with eye contact, when they talk to you.
You can also maintain a strong bond by thanking your partner for what they’ve done, or sending an unexpected sweet message or compliment.
It is important to remember that the previous layers of the Sound Relationship House need to be embedded first. Otherwise, merely complimenting your partner or offering a sweet gesture can seem at odds to your behaviour if you do not provide support to your partner, listen to them and show fondness and affection.
Research has found that couples who excel at turning towards each other are much more likely to have a longer, more fulfilling relationship.
How To Improve Turning Towards Each Other
Some of the ways Gottman recommend improving emotional connections between partners include;
- Paying attention to what is said
- Responding to requests
- Helping without prompting
- Sharing events of the day
- Being affectionate
- Playing spontaneously
- Joining in with adventures
- Helping me with learning.
First Floor: Positive Perspective
For this floor of the Sound Relationship House, couples need to create a relationship that feels like a safe place to be. This doesn’t mean that you have to always rely on your partner to catch you when you fall, as sometimes, this is not always possible. However, the positive perspective means that even if you do feel let you down, you know your partner means well and you still see your relationship with a positive perspective.
To help facilitate this positivity, you need to have a strong element of friendship in the relationship. This is essential for strong problem-solving and relationship repair.
How To Improve Your Positive Perspective
One of the ways to improve positivity in your relationship is by accepting your partner’s influence. This doesn’t mean changing to suit your partner, but by power-sharing and making decisions as a team.
Another important aspect of increasing positivity is by thinking of your emotional bank account. Research shows that couples in happy, stable relationships have a positive to negative interaction ratio of 5:1. So, lots of small kind gestures all help to improve the positive perspective.
However, it’s essential to realise that a positive gesture adds a penny, whereas a negative gesture could detract a pound. Successful relationships need to have a lot more positive interactions to negate negative interactions which could leave the emotional bank balance overdrawn.
Do You Want To Improve Your Relationship?
If you want to enhance your relationship but are not sure where to start, then I can help. I offer relationship therapy at my Harley Street practice and through virtual consultations. I provide a bespoke blended therapy method that incorporates aspects such as NLP, hypnotherapy and coaching. If you’d like to work on your relationship but not sure where to begin, then please get in touch for your free consultation.
Email email@example.com to book your free 15-minute phone consultation today.
Don’t forget, in next week’s post, I’ll be covering the other elements on the Sound Relationship House and sharing the best tips on how to implement these practices into your relationship.