This series is focused on explaining The Gottman Method used in my practice. This counseling method is based on research studying thousands of REAL couples over many years together. The intent is to isolate and identify the important skills, habits, and mindset that either make or break a relationship.
The three cornerstones of this method are: 1) Friendship and Intimacy, 2) Conflict Management, and 3) Shared Meetings.
We began our exploration of Friendship and Intimacy in the October 26 post on Building Love Maps.
Today we’ll focus on the second dimension of Friendship and Intimacy, called Sharing Fondness and Admiration.
One characteristic of a healthy marriage or relationship is that you each feel genuinely liked and appreciated by the other. There is no magic to this, but we work on making it a habit to express respect and affection, verbally and non-verbally.
This is a struggle sometimes because giving compliments and praise may not be part of your partner’s personality. It may not be their “love language.” Meanwhile, no one likes feeling unappreciated, unrecognized, or not being seen for all that they do and their positive qualities.
Think of this as a relationship account. We strive to make consistent positive deposits of admiration and respect for each other so when we have a rough patch or difficult fight or we do something hurtful to our partner, our relationship account is large enough that a big withdrawal will not overdraw the bond.
It is not Partner A or B’s account—it is a collective account and aspect of your relationship. Both partners make deposits into the relationship by expressing appreciation, and offering compliments.
Both partners also make withdrawals from that same account when they speak harshly, act selfishly or inconsiderately, either intentionally and unintentionally.
Breaking even is not enough! Make it a shared goal to be overwhelmingly wealthy in affection and admiration for each other.
Sharing Fondness and Admiration sets the stage for the third dimension important in fostering friendship and intimacy: Turning Toward Bids. We’ll discuss that one in our November 23 post.