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 we continue with the second floor of the Sound Relationship House: Fondness and Admiration.
Fondness and Admiration
Have you ever wondered how old couples stayed together despite all the challenges and the years?
The answer to “how to stay in love” is fondness and admiration.
So, how is it done? Let’s go step by step.
In a relationship, maintaining limerence is essential. When in limerence, we often experience the following:
- Happiness and feeling upbeat
- Constant thoughts about our partner
- Strong sexual attraction for our partner
- Desire for reciprocation
- Craving to see our partner
- Hope and optimism for the future
- When reciprocated, a feeling that nothing could tear you apart
Without limerence in a relationship, our blinders also come off. The romantic attraction might still be there, but it’s no longer the main driver that keeps the two people together.
Small misunderstandings will start to look like a big deal. Ugly roots that will poison the relationship start showing up.
To have a happy, healthy relationship, you need to keep limerence alive.
How to Stay In Love
Sharing fondness and admiration is a perfect antidote to dying limerence. It will help you and your partner focus on the positives.
When you are fond of your partner, you
- Are proud of your partner
- Like your partner
- Are attracted to your partner
Why Does Love Expire?
When fondness dies, your love will suffer and is doomed to expire. Your relationship slips into a vicious spiral resulting in separation.
However, separation is not always the end of a poor relationship. Some relationships simply stay poor.
So how do you know if you are still in love? Check the list below and see if it applies to you. Do you:
- Touch and kiss affectionately
- Say “I love you”
- Feel loved
- Think of your partner fondly when away
- Can easily list three things you admire about your partner
- Feel accepted and liked
- Feel proud of your partner
- Enjoy his/her achievements
- Feel glad when you see your partner
- Appreciate the things your partner often does
- Feel that your partner generally likes your personality
- Feel satisfied with your sex life
If you can say yes to more than ten questions, your relationship is very healthy. If you score poorly, not everything is lost.
Sometimes fondness and admiration must be re-discovered beneath layers of negativity.
Exercise to Stay In Love
Pick three adjectives about your partner from the list below (feel free to update the list!)
Then name an actual incident from the past week where your partner demonstrated that quality. Write it down. The next time you get a chance, share it. Say, out loud, “I appreciate that you are _____. I noticed it last week when _____.”
Make this a discipline. Commit to sharing at least three of these appreciation statements each week. In doing so, you’ll voluntarily reinforce, for yourself and your partner, the positive aspects of your relationship.
The idea of this exercise is not to do it once and end it. The idea is to kick-start a habit.
Take it to the next level
Explore with your partner why you picked the virtues that you each picked. Articulate why they are important to you. By identifying and articulating your shared values, you can create a shared meaning of love. “Shared Meaning” is the top floor of the relationship house.
The beginning of love is always great.
But to keep it strong, healthy, and long-lasting, we need to create the basis and foundation for the time when the “butterflies phase” runs out.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
Showing appreciation is primarily about saying “thank you” – something that we often forget to say in our everyday lives. There is no reason not to include “thank you” as part of your everyday vocabulary. For taking out the trash. For emptying the dishwasher. But thanks must extend beyond “what you do for me” and into “who you are.” Thank you for being patient with me when I get anxious. Thank you for being kind when I get irritated. Thank you for being my true north.
Building a culture of appreciation, fondness, and admiration helps us stay in love with our partner forever.