Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman have spent their careers studying relationship stability and divorce prediction. The psychologists have also been happily married to each other for the last 35 years, so they know a lot about what it takes to make a relationship work.
Over the years, they’ve studied more than 40-thousand partners about to start couples therapy and have found one thing all couples have in common is that they want to be appreciated, acknowledged and seen. According to the Gottmans, a thriving relationship needs a “culture of appreciation” where we notice the things our partners are doing right, not just what they’re doing wrong. To do that, we need to be “scanning for the positives,” and showing appreciation.
These researchers have also found that the number one phrase used by those in successful relationships is “thank you.” To get into the appreciation mindset, the Gottmans suggest observing the things your partner does and writing down the positive things, little things like making you coffee when they make one for themselves. Then simply thank them for what they’re getting right and elaborate, like saying, “Thank you for making me coffee. It just makes me start the day off right.” They’ll feel appreciated and will hopefully return the favor by thanking you for the little stuff you do that makes them feel good.
- Living and working together for more than three decades? That’s more together time than most couples could handle!
- Little things done for each other can strengthen the bond.
- Everybody wants to be appreciated.