The time of breakfast, or at night during dinner are usually chosen by couples to talk without interruptions (Getty)
The time of breakfast, or at night during dinner are usually chosen by couples to talk without interruptions (Getty)

American doctor John Gottman is recognized worldwide for his work on the marital stability and the prediction of divorce. He has been married to Julie Schwartz Gottman for 35 years and together they engage in groundbreaking research with thousands of couples. As psychologists studied more than 40,000 couples about to start couple therapyand that is why they boast of knowing about successful relationships.

In one lab study, for example, they predicted with 94% accuracy whether a marriage would last, after observing couples for as little as 15 minutes.

And here is the -for them- most important determining factor that defines whether a marriage is successful, understanding by success that they respect each other, live in harmony, be attentive to the needs of the other and know how to cope with crises, among other things.

For experts, the frequency with which one of the members “turned towards” their partner instead of “turning away” is the number one trick that betrays the connection between two people and predicts the success of the relationship.

The happiest couples are those who identify when their partner is demanding their attention, experts warned (Getty)
The happiest couples are those who identify when their partner is demanding their attention, experts warned (Getty)

“When a couple turns to each other, they do and respond to what we call ‘hookup offers’ the specialists explained. Offers can range from small things, like trying to get your attention by shouting your name, to big things, like asking for deeper needs to be met.”

In Gottman’s view, “the happiest couples are smart enough to notice when their partner is making an offer and drop what they’re doing, if necessary, to get engaged.” To illustrate, the psychologist presented a hypothetical situation in which the member of a couple, moving his finger over her phone, comments: “This is an interesting article.”

“This is an offer for the connection,” Gottman said. To which the other person may respond in one of three ways: “By turning to, this is acknowledging the offer and committing to your attempt to connect; walking away, which amounts to either actively ignoring or simply unaware of the other’s attempt to connect, or turning against it, irritably or angrily canceling their attempt to connect with a ‘can’t you see I’m trying to work?’”.

Being able to connect with the needs of the other, regardless of the degree of importance they have for one, is one of the keys to a successful couple.
Being able to connect with the needs of the other, regardless of the degree of importance they have for one, is one of the keys to a successful couple.

“The act of ‘turning towards’ builds affection and a sense of teamwork, which helps strengthen the foundation of a lasting relationship,” said Schwartz and Gottman, who, while acknowledging that it is impossible to always turn towards each other, emphasized that in his laboratory study, “couples who stayed together for at least six years looked at each other 86% of the time, while those who divorced did so only 33% of the time.”

consulted by infobae, the graduate in Psychology Lorena Ruda (MN 44247) considered that “there are no guarantees not to separate.” “I do believe that there are couples that are more respectful of the times and the availability of the other and that this is a certain point of success in a relationship -he pointed out-. Being able to understand that sometimes the other cannot respond and that the other learns to say ‘now I can’t listen to you carefully, can we resume the conversation at another time?’ and that the other take this well and not get angry, without a doubt these are situations that lead to a good port ”.

“As well as when one detects the intention of close up of the other, being able to pause the activity for a little while to pay attention to it is, without a doubt, a good gesture towards the other and, therefore, favors the bond of a couple”, said the specialist, for whom “these situations probably occur with the passage of time and being able to talk about the importance of having this mutual respect. Sometimes one perceives the approach of the couple and yet does not feel like responding. Putting words to this situation favors not confronting and falling into claims of dissatisfaction”.

One's emotional availability will not always align perfectly with your partner's emotional availability.  The point is how to handle it (Getty)
One’s emotional availability will not always align perfectly with your partner’s emotional availability. The point is how to handle it (Getty)

For her, “to be able to share with the other what is important to one and for the other to listen carefully because there is a real interest and not because of the commitment to respond could make the difference between a ‘successful couple’, understanding that this availability to listen is not unconditional and that does not mean that there is disinterest but that it may not be the right time”.

It is important to avoid the feeling of rejection and disinterest, and, on the contrary, it is essential to value the desire to share and connect with the other since in the maelstrom of the day these moments are sometimes lost. Ruda advised that “spending time on these exchanges could account for another point of success in the couple, as long as they are genuine and not forced.”

North American experts brought calm to those who feel that “turning towards” has faded in a relationship. For them, there are three ways to do it:

John and Julie Schwartz Gottman studied more than 40,000 couples and say they can predict whether a couple will last just by observing it for 15 minutes (Getty)
John and Julie Schwartz Gottman studied more than 40,000 couples and say they can predict whether a couple will last just by observing it for 15 minutes (Getty)

Choose a time to communicate with the couple in which the other can hear and you don’t have to run anywhere. It can be in the morning, having a coffee before work or at night after putting the children to bed.

Ask him the question, for example “is there anything you need from me today?” for experts allows the other to reflect on their needs and makes it clear that their partner wants to be there for them. Based on that, make a real effort to satisfy the needs of the couplewhether what you ask for is “a break from the kids” or going out to eat alone.

Just as you would pick up a coin or a dollar bill if you saw it on the street, each potential moment of connection or commitment should be thought of as something of value, even if it seems small or fleeting. Pennies add up over time!

In this sense, Schwartz and Gottman urged to be attentive to these invitations to connect:

It is not necessary for both members of a couple to always be emotionally available to each other;  the point is how to get along with those differences (Getty Images)
It is not necessary for both members of a couple to always be emotionally available to each other; the point is how to get along with those differences (Getty Images)

– Eye contact

– A smile

– A sigh

– A direct request for your help or attention.

– Say “good morning” or “good night”

– Asking a favor

– Read something aloud: “Hey, listen to this…”

– Point to something: “Look at that!”

– Calling your name from another room

– seem sad or depressed

Experts say that just by observing a couple for 15 minutes they can predict if they will continue together (Getty)
Experts say that just by observing a couple for 15 minutes they can predict if they will continue together (Getty)

One’s emotional availability will not always align perfectly with your partner’s emotional availability. And that’s fine. The point is how to handle it. “When your partner makes an offer but you can’t participate, don’t ignore the request. Just explain, briefly, why you can’t be available with a sentence like ‘I’d really love to hear about this, but I have to do X thing right now,’” the experts said.

And when one makes an offer and the other side doesn’t respond, they advised: “If they lose a couple of your offers, keep trying. But if it’s a pattern of behavior, let it be known by saying, for example, “I don’t want to be critical, but I’ve been getting closer and I notice you’re not paying attention. What is happening to you right now that prevents you from responding?

For Ruda, it is likely that if these types of moments prevail in a couple, being able to put into words and explain what one needs, offering to be available to the other at some point of the day, it could be said that this couple is, in this sense, successful and less likely to separate.

“This happens by power empathize with the need of the other and respond immediately if you can or with words when you can’t -analyzed-. It would be the ideal communication in a relationship and would avoid some conflicts that usually exist in the form of claims and reproaches that can trigger a constant tense climate in a couple and thus choose to separate”.

Keep reading

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