Prepared by Taylor Summers, EWU Undergrad Intern
Increasing the Love in the Relationship Bank Account
By Becky Rudd PhD, LMFT, LMHC, RPT-S, NCC
Drs. Julie and John Gottman are the founders of the Gottman Method Couple Therapy, an evidence-based approach to working with couples who struggle with relationship problems. The Gottman Method is most notable for identifying, labeling and changing destructive communication patterns and can predict, with a 97% accuracy, whether or not that couple will be together in five years after listening to a newly married couple have a perpetual argument. The various communication patterns and strategies couples use can erode even the best relationship. While a trained Gottman Method Couple Therapist can help you and your partner identify your pattern and eliminate these toxic communication strategies, couples can immediately begin helping their relationship by adding love coins to the relationship bank account. Gottman found that “bids” for attention, affection and intimacy (e.g., asking for a hug, starting up a conversation, holding hands, doing something you know your partner likes) put a love coin in the relationship bank account. His research found that couples who had 5 positive bids or interactions accepted for every 1 negative bid or interaction appeared to insulate or protect the relationship from negativity. Furthermore, these couples were more likely to give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst about their partner and saw their partner as a teammate versus a adversary. Consequently, relationships where couples experience 8 negative interactions for every 1 positive bid or interaction not only experienced relationship quality demise, loss of connection, seeing the other as an enemy, went into self-preservation over the good of the relationship, but also individually experienced more physical and mental illness, higher stress rates, and poorer work performance. In other words, when your relationship bank account is empty and the relationship has begun drawing from the individual reserves of each partner, the relationship is on life support. However, you can begin adding love back to the relationship bank account by doing nice things for your partner (even if they don’t see it that way). Love coins in the relationship bank account do earn interest and the more you put in, eventually the more benefit you will see. So, do something special (big or small) for your partner this Valentine’s day and a concerted daily effort to keep doing something loving for your partner every day can make a world of difference. So, for every negative interaction you have make sure there are 5 positive ones to add back into your bank.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press
10 Tips for a Strong & Healthy Relationship
Recommended by Keneesha Lloyd, MS, LMHC, SUDP
The article, “10 tips for a Strong & Healthy Relationship” by Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy an evidence-based practice for couples therapy, that has some great suggestions to help improve your relationship this Valentines day:
- We are born to need each other
- In love relationships emotional hurt is a mixture of anger, sadness, but most of all, fear.
- The strongest among us are those who can reach for others.
- Relationships can survive partners being very difficult.
- There is no perfect lover.
- The fights that matter are never about sex, money, or the kids.
- We only have two ways to deal with the vulnerability of love when we can’t connect.
- A loving relationship is the best recipe for a long and happy life that exists.
- Lasting passion is entirely possible in love.
- The key moments in love are when partners open up and ask for what they need and the other partner responds.
Johnson, S. (2013). Ten Tips for a Strong Vibrant Relationship: Dr. Sue Johnson. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from https://www.drsuejohnson.com/ten-tips-for-a-strong-vibrant-relationship/
Coming this Summer
Workshops will be lead by Certified Gottman Method Couple Therapist Dr. Becky Rudd LMFT, LMHC, RPT-S, NCC. Registration information will be available in April. Space is very limited so watch for our registration link in April’s newsletter
Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work: Evening and weekend classes available
The Seven Principles workshop is based on The New York Times bestseller The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, developed from Dr. Gottman’s four decades of research with more than 3,000 couples
Bringing Baby Home Workshop: Evenings and weekend classes available
Bringing Baby Home workshops prepare couples for life with baby and helps them be the best parenting team possible. In a relaxed and supportive environment, parents learn to strengthen their relationship and foster baby’s development during this challenging time. This workshop combines scientific research and public education to improve the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening their families. It teaches new parents how to gain relationship satisfaction and create healthy social, emotional, and intellectual development for their children. Visit the Gottman website to learn more about Dr. Gottman’s parenting research.