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The magic marriage ratio

February 22, 2011
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What the Experts Say…

“Our research suggests that what really separates contented couples from those in deep marital misery is a healthy balance between their positive and negative feelings and actions toward each other … There was a very specific ratio that exists between the amount of positivity and negativity in a stable marriage … That magic ratio is 5 to 1.” (John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail)

In Other Words…

We often assume that if we have as many positives as negatives in our marriages, we’re in good shape. That’s not true. When there are as many negatives as positives, the relationship is in serious trouble. For a relationship to be stable, it needs lots and lots of positives. Relationships thrive in positivity.

How This Applies to You…

Your mind has great power. You can dwell on the problems and disappointments in your relationship. You can talk endlessly about the negative. Or you can set your mind to be grateful. You can choose to notice and appreciate the good things in your relationship. Instead of making a sarcastic remark, try to offer a sincere compliment. Instead of complaining or nagging, tell your partner what you appreciate about him or her. By increasing the ratio of positives in your relationship, you will increase the level of happiness and satisfaction you both feel.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent books focused on marriage, read Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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