Want to grow old together? Luckily, a researcher has discovered a simple formula to boost your odds.
Marriage is tough. Which is probably why Mr. Disney ends his films after the wedding vows.
About four months into meeting my now husband, I attended a friend’s wedding. And during some pre-wedding festivity I overheard one of her bridesmaids talking about marriage. What she said has remained with me:
“Sometimes I love my husband. But sometimes, I really just want to kill him. But one thing stops me: I’ll have to go to jail afterwards.”
Obviously, she was joking (I hope). But it stuck with me because it made me realise “happily-ever-after” included bouts of “argh, why are you so annoying?” and “can’t you just bugger off!” etc. And it’s true. Sure there are times I love my husband more than I can describe. But there are also times when I wonder if going to jail is really that bad.
But then I read this article about a formula for staying together, and it made a great deal of sense to me.
Researcher Dr. John Gottman has spent decades delivering empirical data that provide mathematical formulas of what works—and what doesn’t. When I first learned he could predict divorce with 94 percent accuracy, I was skeptical and intrigued…
Here’s Gottman’s formula—1:5.
It means that for every negative interaction a couple has (eye roll, dismissive body language, actual negative utterance, etc.), there need to be at least five positive interactions (a kiss, a genuine loving look, genuinely positive comments).
Basically, for every mean, nasty, “I will win this fight!” remark, you need to say or do 5 nice, “I’m sorry”, “I love you” things.Why? Because that 1 thing hurts! And if it isn’t erased and smoothed over it can fester. And fester never helped anyone.
Basically, after you have said things like:
“You are the most annoying person to be around when you are like this!”
“You’re so stupid, everything that comes out of your mouth is BS.”
“Why did I even marry you?!?”
You need to be nice. Both with words and actions. Sorrys need to be said, grudges must not be held, and cups of tea need to be made.
You also need to know what makes you tick. And untick. The more you know about yourself before you get into a relationship, the more you can tell your partner what to look out for.