The power of emotional intelligence in the relationship
There’s enough research on healthy, successful marriages to confirm that there is a scientific pattern to building long-term marriage health. And it’s simpler than you think.
Your emotional connection with your partner is the strongest predictor of long-term marriage satisfaction and stability. That means, to keep your marriage healthy you need to keep your emotional connection strong. It also means that any couple can build and maintain a happy marriage if they have the right skills.
So, how do you build and maintain a strong emotional connection over time?
John Gottman's research concludes: the key is successfully giving and receiving emotional calls. Emotional calls (or the bids of connection) are the moments when you attempt to connect with your partner and your partner attempts to connect with you. You each make many emotional calls every day for attention, affection, humor, sex, conversation, and more. Those bids of connection are attempts because they only turn into moments of connection when the receiving partner responds warmly and positively. John Gottman says: "Be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them".
Dr. Gottman’s motto is "Small things often". The meaning is straightforward: regularly express appreciation, gratitude, affection, and respect for your partner. This a foundation for a positive perspective in your relationship, empathy, and connection. Additionally, the Gottman’s Method offers a very simple, but effective "Magic ratio - 5:1". It means that if you have five or more positive interactions for every one negative interaction, then you’re making regular deposits into your emotional bank account, which keeps your relationship in a positive state.
Some practical steps:
1. Try to find the balance between independence and connection that would make both of you happy.
2. Be transparent and direct, when you are expressing your needs. There is no need for mind-reading in a healthy relationship.
3. Explore: what do you need from your partner to feel safe and connected in your relationship?
4. Be sensitive to your partner’s emotional calls. Feel free to clarify, ask questions, and explore their needs together.
5. Practice warm and positive responses to your partner’s emotional calls.
6. Incorporate "magic ratio" – provide at least 5 positive interactions for 1 negative interaction.