The Sound Relationship House
What are the ingredients of a great relationship? How do you transform a challenging relationship into a great one? It is possible. We have seen real change and relational healing in even a few Couples Counseling sessions.
In the Gottman Method of couples counseling, the foundational model is the Sound Relationship House or we could call it the seven components of a healthy “coupleship”. It looks like this:
The Gottman Theory for Making Relationships Work
* Build Love Maps: How well do you know your partner’s inner world, his or her history, stresses, joys and hopes?
* Share Fondness and Admiration: Here we focus on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship and focus on strengthening the fondness, admiration and genuine expressions of appreciation and respect. This is an antidote for criticism and contempt.
* Turn Toward Instead of Away: Learning to state your needs, express bids for connection and recognize and turn towards your partners “bids”. These small moments of everyday life are actually the essential building blocks of a healthy relationship.
* The Positive Perspective: This is the practice of a positive approach to problem-solving and making repair attempts. It is a pervasive feeling of love, hope and goodwill that buffers relationships from negative conflict.
* Manage Conflict: We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural yet doesn’t need to be destructive. Learn to recognize the key difference between perpetual problems (that every relationship has) and solvable problems that are an invitation to mutual collaboration.
* Make Life Dreams Come True: Create an atmosphere that encourages honesty and safety to talk about your hopes, aspirations and dreams. How can you support your partners life dreams?
* Create Shared Meaning: Create a shared value system that continually connects you and your partner through co-created rituals, traditions, shared roles and symbols.
The seven components of the Sounds Relationship House embody the essence of 35 years of dedicated research by Dr. John Gottman, with thousands of couples of all ethnicity, cultures and sexual orientation. Fundamental to actualizing these seven components is to cultivate commitment and trust. Even if there has been a history of conflict and misunderstanding, the presence of a mutual commitment to the goodness of a shared life, creates the “safe container” of trust that can navigate whatever challenges life brings our way.
This beautiful model is the template we use in our work and we provide tools, practices and guidance to return to or reignite the love that brought your partner and you together.