The Sound Relationship House is a theory developed by Drs John and Julie Gottman, the world’s leading relationship psychologists.
The Sound Relationship House Theory is the Gottman Method’s foundation, which uses a practical approach to help couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection, and intimacy in their relationships. The Gottman Couples Method is at the core of Luxdates’ philosophy of a successful relationship.
In a series of articles, we introduce this concept to build a better relationship with your partner.
Today’s article is on the seventh – and last – floor of the Sound Relationship House: Create Shared Meaning.
Just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t mean that love will stay alive without nurturing your partnership. So if you find yourself asking, “What is missing from my marriage?” your situation may need help.
What might be missing is what Dr John Gottman refers to as a sense of shared meaning. A successful relationship is about more than raising kids, paying bills, and getting chores done. It is also about building a meaningful relationship with a spiritual dimension and is rich in rituals of connection.
Here are four ways that couples can build a stronger relationship with shared meaning:
1. Sharing a shared dream or vision for life can help you gain a healthy perspective. When couples have that shared dream, the inevitable ups and downs of marriage are less bothersome. Creating a larger context of meaning in life can help couples avoid focusing only on the little stuff that happens and keeping their eyes on the big picture.
2. Talking about your shared vision can foster attunement. Taking time to process your dreams can bring you closer. A crucial goal for couples is to create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her convictions. Couples who share their hopes and dreams are happier and less likely to struggle.
3. Creating daily or weekly rituals of connection will enable you to build shared meaning. Carve out time to be together and spend time doing enjoyable activities that bring you both pleasure. Couples need to commit to spending quality time together, including saying goodbye in the morning and reunions at the end of the day.
4. Implementing your shared goals can help you to be a stronger couple with a purpose. For instance, your goals might include volunteering in the community, raising your children in a specific way, or adopting a sustainable lifestyle. Regardless of what your shared vision or goals are, they can strengthen your bond.
Building a relationship that is full of meaning and involves prioritising time and resources is essential to a happy marriage. It encompasses a couple’s legacy – the stories they tell, their beliefs, and the culture they create to form a shared meaning system.
While a new relationship is often exciting, stimulating, and fun, having a deep and meaningful connection with your partner can infuse your relationship with love and purpose over the long run. Excitement and fun are primarily felt in the present moment, and they can fade away; feelings of pleasure can be temporary. But developing shared meaning over a more extended period will sustain a deep connection in your marriage, resulting in overall positive affect and shared happiness.
Couples who take the time to develop shared meaning and goals are more likely to cultivate intimacy – a hallmark of matured and lasting love. Intimacy is something not simply arrived at by chance, but it is deliberately nurtured. Keep in mind that maintaining a deep connection to your partner does not mean that you place them on a pedestal or that your relationship is without problems. It’s not about sidestepping conflict, but you can’t force your opinions on your partner, either. In every marriage, you will have your disagreements, and the key is learning how to manage them.
However, if you like and respect who your partner is and how they conduct themselves in their world, and if you generally agree on the fundamentals in life, your connection will be deeper and more meaningful. Of course, you won’t necessarily see eye to eye on everything, but your shared goals will align.
What is the secret to increasing shared meaning between you and your partner? Spending quality time together regularly and getting to know your partner better by sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings, and wishes is a lifelong process and take a firm commitment. However, Dr. Gottman’s research proves that these efforts will result in a happy and successful marriage.