How To Keep Love Once You Find It

I have mentioned John Gottman’s work last year on this blog: Mathematics Of Marriage and Composite Charts – Predicting Divorce

Gottman studied couples as they interacted and became able to predict which ones would divorce with startling accuracy, something like 95%!

Gottman has continued to study and one of his findings is that couples who stay together have five times as many positive interactions (kissing, hugging, compliments) than they do negative interactions (expression of annoyance and complaints). The research shows there is a tipping point and it is only the ratio that matters.

For example, a couple can be volatile and blow up on a daily basis. As long as there are five times as many positive interactions, they will be happy and satisfied and inclined to stay together. On the other end of the spectrum, couples who have less interaction may only fight once a month but if they do not have positive interaction 5 times as often… well, you get the picture.

So it seems if you have love you can increase your chances of keeping it if you complain less and appreciate more which seems a no-brainer but as we all know, people act with no brains all the time so I think having it’s nice to have it spelled out like this. I think it’s a good tip and it gave me an idea.

I thought I’d come on here and ask people to offer their own love tips. If you are in a satisfying relationship can you name one of the things that you or your partner do to keep it that way?

Got any love tips? Let’s help each other out.

11 thoughts on “How To Keep Love Once You Find It”

  1. I read that and went WOWSA!! My bf and I fight all the flippin’ time, but we definitely manage 5x as much positive behavior. My ex and I fought rarely, but I was lucky if we managed 5 positive points in a month!! Hence one of the reasons he’s an ex. 😉

    My tip? (Venus in Aries — does that mean I like the fight? Or just the makeup sex? ;-)) Communication.

    I don’t keep anything from my bf, and he nothing from me. And yes, sometimes it erupts into a giant fight, but we’ve both learned how better to approach each other, how to talk to each other without putting the other one on automatic defensiveness. And our relationship has progressed from one of grave frustration (and decreased positive moments) to one where we’re both better people (and shhh…I’m considering the M word again…but shhhhh!!).

    OH, and quit just saying ‘I’m sorry’!! It’s like a bandaid on a gushing gut wound. Don’t just be sorry; fix it!

    And one last thing…it’s all about the little things. My bf thanks me for making dinner, even if all I did was bake a frozen pizza. And I thank him for taking out the trash. Neither of them are big things, but that small thought of acknowledgement lets me know that he pays attention, that he appreciates it, that I’m not just here to be his cook and maid. I love the random ‘I miss you’ texts, even if he just left the house. And he loves the little cards I give him just cause.

    Ahem, I think I’m done now. 🙂

  2. My Aries & I both express our appreciation for what we do for the other. He always compliments me on my cooking, and tells me how much he values coming home to a sane person. We tell each other everyday that we love the other. I make a point of telling him frequently how much i like the wonderful remodel projects he’s done for our home (LOVE my new bathroom . . . 🙂 )

    It may be both of us having natal Scorpio Mars sq Pluto but we both avoid getting into big fights . . . too dangerous. Something else we do is really listen to the other. In his first marriage, he felt completely ignored, that nothing he had to say had any value. I make a serious effort to not be critical (Mars/Mercury on ASC). And I also avoid making “you” comments . . . for instance, “YOU screwed up, YOU make me mad”. Nothing like doing a finger pointing number to an Aries to cause an explosion!!

  3. what a nice, fuzzy post! 🙂 i’ve read this guys research before and think it’s fascinating.

    on love tips…it’s little things with my husband. i have coffee ready when he gets home waiting for him. it’s obviously not a big deal when i miss it occassionally and it takes me all of 30 seconds to do, but it lets him know i’ve been thinking about him and looking forward to seeing him. it’s about how he makes sure i have oil in the trunk in my car in case i need it. or how he looks at me when we talk, you know? we express our appreciation for each other every day.

    now i’m going to have to go think about this and start noticing all the particulars. what a lovely task…

  4. Well, I’ve realized if the soldier and I were ever to get into it big time (this could happen), I only need throw a margarita salt hat in a box and send it to him and that’d do it. He’d pick that thing up and every memory we have would be right there in his hand and my phone would ring shortly thereafter.

    It does not seem such a bad idea to set these things up for each other. Once in place, you only need to the sense to use what’s available to you.

  5. Elsa, what you’re talking about is classical conditioning and it’s great. When they’re positive reinforcers of good times? All the better.

    LoveTips: Like I said in another post I’m coming up on my 25th wedding anniversary in a few weeks time – one of the things that has kept it alive is the push-pull of teasing one another. I constantly ‘hit on’ him in this way. He does likewise and we’re still together and happy many MANY years later. He also treats me like a Queen and I let him. 😀

    The other is what we call the Big “C” of committment. We made one and we meant it.

    For young love I’d say try to focus on what all is good about your relationship and forget what TV romances or the harlequinish books try to make you think love is SUPPOSED TO BE. Hogwash, love is what makes each of you feel loved and fulfilled, and that may be totally different than what anyone else’s romance looks like.

  6. “Hogwash, love is what makes each of you feel loved and fulfilled, and that may be totally different than what anyone else’s romance looks like.”

    Dreams, that is a wonderful observation. It may be the salt hat, or the coffee in the fridge, or a little flirting or scraped winshields on a cold day or whatever. More like recognizing and appreciating the root of where these small gestures come from and appreciating them, and this makes the feelings grow.

  7. that’s such an interesting article.

    Daeshii – learning how to communicate has changed everything for me and my bf as well. How not to be defensive, and to not make the other defensive. How to give and receive love in a way that is understandable for each other.

    My tips? My bf always remembers and appreciates my presence. He notices the way I smell, my mood, the sound of my voice, what I tell him and what I don’t. If I contradict myself he is the first to know, and when I leave something out he figures it out asap. i love that he experiences me in so many ways…he misses nothing

    Something I’ve finally learned to do: be patient, more flexible, less control all around
    He’s taught me to just let things be sometimes. By knowing him, I’ve finally learned how to relax 🙂

    My way of showing love? I’ve been willing to change myself, to grow and adapt – even things I’ve always thought were ingrained. Change is hard to do, and I do this for him. Less stubborn and critical, and more giving. I am able to be more affectionate and warm with him than with anyone else. He opens me up

  8. Funny, because I had a guy who did all of those things you describe- notice and celebrate litle things about me, constantly show his appreciation…

    but it didn’t work out. The little things are nice, but obviously there has to be something else… He could do all the right things (that I would love if some other guy did) and only annoy me. It must be the wiring…..

  9. I would say the complementing is a lot of verbiage. There are more physical/tender ways to show things. Even physical proximity when watching a movie or something

  10. I would agree with Dina! I think physical gestures make a person feel extra special and wanted. Words are nice, but only travel so far.

  11. Funny- that thing the soldier does, in love with you, is something I do with close friends. I think it comes from knowing someone a long time. I have a friend who is always making art and artsy craft projects and she had all this metal on her floor, tools, wires, stuff for making jewelry. Not much furniture but all this other STUFF. So I’m like oh yeah that’s my friend L who doesn’t have the “normal stuff” but if you sit on the floor (we are both floor sitters – more than finding the couch or chair) you’ll run into some pliars and shit you don’t know what it is, lots of metal. And it becomes endearing. That’s a kind of intimacy. When someone knows those things about you and then comments on it sweetly.

    Or, a weird example, my ex would leave bottle of aftershave at my place and when we would have a big fight and I thought it was the end, I would pour it down the drain. And then it would make the bathroom smell like him, which was worse! I saw him not long ago and he asked me that, that I hadn’t thrown away all his gifts surely but I had surely thrown away the aftershave.

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