Monday, February 11, 2013

"Spicing Things Up" for your Sweetheart

Marottas 25th Anniversary
Want to make this Valentine really special?  Consider refreshing some ingredients to boost the flavor of your relationship. 
“Master Chefs” John and Julie Gottman are happily long term married people who are respected psychologists and have dedicated over 40 years of research to studying marriage.  There is some inherent credibility to that!  In their “Marriage Lab” they have videotaped and recorded countless hours of dialogue between married couples.
What can we learn from this body of research? Plenty!
In the recipe for happy marriages the Gottmans have identified essential ingredients to have in your partnership pantry:
“Happily Ever After” (Serves 2)
Emotional Intimacy.  Couples choose (over and over again) to become fluent in the history and current events of their partner.  This takes time, quality time, to build an awareness of past and present.  It also involves an investment in the goals, hopes, and fears of our special other.

Nurturance. Express regular and frequent fondness toward your partner.  Seek out the strengths to admire and compliment.

Attention.  Make an effort to turn toward your spouse for affection, attention, humor, and support.  This requires an awareness of how much of yourself you are turning to others for these things!

Shared Decision Making. You are a smart person, but so is your spouse.  Honor and respect your partner’s wisdom and viewpoint in some of your choices. 
       In a long term marriage there are many expected changes and challenges.  When the honeymoon is over and children are vying for attention in the family it is not so surprising that couples can lose sight of romance.  When finances get stretched, and schedules get hectic, and sleep is a rare commodity we run the risk of not prioritizing our partner. There will always be “something” to distract you from appreciating your spouse.   This Valentines Day re-commit to your relationship, it will be a gift that keeps on giving.

Recommended Reading:
What Makes Love Last? (2012) Gottman & Silver
10 Lessons to Transform your Marriage (2007) Gottman, Gottman, & Declaire
7 Principles for Making Marriage Work (2000) Gottman

What ingredients will you be refreshing? I am refreshing Attention (Lets see if sweetness notices!)


  1. Thanks for these tips, Lisa! I always need to work on being more nurturing, so I will focus on that this week. S is really stressed out these days!

  2. Thanks for the reading suggestions - always on the lookout for good resources for me and my family law clients.