How to build a healthy relationship? Ican give you a little heads up, it’s not luck, it’s not magic but you’re going to seea little magic in this episode. So do you ever get up in the morning and wonder,hmm wonder if gravity is on today hmm.. No. You know that it’s on, gravity is alwayson and it always works have a little demonstration for you. This is a steelring. In just a moment, I’m going to let go of this steel ring. What direction doyou think it’s going to go? Oh yeah, you’re pretty sure, right? Really? Will you betotally surprised if it does something else?Okay, now watch, watch. Not surprised, are you?Why? Because you understand gravity.
When we talk about principles, gravity, gravityis a natural law, okay. It’s going to happen whether you believe in it or not,it’s going to pull things down just like it did that steel ring. Now what if thatsteel ring is placed first on a chain like this one? Now I’ll show you exactlyhow I’m going to do this. The ring gets placed on the chain like this. Now when Ilet go what’s going to happen? Same thing, right? It’s still going to fall. Wait, whatjust happened? Did you catch that? Now how did I do that? Some of you might know howI do this, to some of you it might look like magic, some of you might think thatit’s luck, well what is it? Is it magic? Is it luck?No, it’s principles. There are principles behind this trick that allow me to do itevery time, it’s not luck and it’s not magic. I’m a psychologist not a magician.So what would happen if you knew what I know about this trick? Well you couldreplicate it and a lot of times when I’m doing a keynote or a seminar or atraining, I’ll invite people right up onto the stage and teach them in frontof everybody else how to do this trick the first time they try it.Amazing, right?
Well, no, it’s just simple principles and as we apply thoseprinciples, it changes the outcome so there’s probably things in life that aremore important than a trick with a chain. What if we could apply the same conceptto relationships? How do we build a healthy relationship? Well folks, I’m hereto tell you, it’s not magic, it’s not luck. There are principles that determine thesuccess of a relationship. What would happen if you knew what those principlesare? See, that’s what we’re talking about. Now to introduce the relationshipprinciples, I first want to refer back to research that was done, this was probably20 years ago Dr. John Gottman who is one of the nation’s leadingresearchers in relationships and specifically marital relationships but Ithink this applies in other relationships as well. He found in hisresearch that roughly 70% of all of the problems in a relationship areunresolvable. Unresolvable. I tell some people that, a couple I’m working with,for example, that 70% of the problems around resolvable, some of them justthrow their hands in the air, it’s like well, what’s the use then? And others arejust relieved because they don’t feel so weird nowthat they’re experiencing some of these things.What Gottman found is that this number is absolutely consistent in the researchthat’s been done, it’s been replicated, we already know this.
Now really quickly,when Gottman talked about problems, I think he meant primarilyconflicts. Anytime you bring two different people together, you’re goingto have conflict. Why? Because we got different preferences, we got differentbackgrounds, we’ve got different beliefs, we’ve got different languages, we’ve gotdifferent genders and so we’re going to have someconflicts because of the differences. Now a little word about differences,differences give us a reason to have that relationship in the first place. Iftwo people are exactly the same, there is no need for a relationship.One of you is unnecessary so the differences actually make us relevantand interesting to each other, okay. In a marital relationship, even at the levelof gender, it’s the differences that are interesting. Think about it. So to cometogether in a relationship, we have to be different, that makes us relevant andinteresting to each other but those differences are going to cost conflicts andI think that’s what Gottman was picking up on in his research. Now unresolvable,what does that mean? You know what? I’ve done a lot of work inchild custody cases and in divorce cases. I used to do child custody evaluationsfor the court and in the state of Utah, when someone files for divorce, they haveto list a legal cause for the divorce and the most common one is,irreconcilable differences.
Irreconcilable differences, unresolvableconflicts, huh, well those sound like the same thing to me but here’s what’sinteresting from Gottman’s research, she found that this was true for themiserable, highly conflicted headed for separation and divorce couples about 70%of their problems are resolved. He also found that this was true of thehappy, well-adjusted, stable, satisfied couples. There was no difference betweenthese two groups in the number of unresolvable problems that they had.In fact, you could not distinguish between these two groups based on that metric.Isn’t that interesting? What that suggests to me is that these two groupsare doing something very different with their unresolvable problems. So goingback to Gottman’s research, let’s go over here to the miserable couples firstbecause here’s the short version, folks, we want to do more of what works andless of what doesn’t in order to establish and maintain a successfulrelationship. So let’s go to Gottman because his research showed a four-partprocess, he called this the Four Horsemen of theApocalypse, if you like that kind of imagery. The four things that werepredictably found to to put people on this side of the equation on themiserable side of the equation and he identified first criticism, okay. Nowcriticism doesn’t have to be real or intended as long as it’s perceived, we’reoff to the races. Criticism leads to the next one whichGottman called defensiveness. This totally makes sensebecause if you’re being attacked, what do you want to do next? Get your shield up,protect yourself, you’re going to be defensive, that’s a natural response.Defensiveness leads to the third thing and that is contempt.Now the way Gottman described this contempt is kind of like defensivenessturned hostile.
So you got your shield up, now you draw your sword, you want to getsome counter-attacks in there somehow okay. So it’s a retaliationreally and then that third one contempt leads to the last one, Gottman called thatstonewalling. Stonewalling is turning away from each other instead of turningtoward each other, it’s like building up a stone wall or a more permanent form ofdefensiveness against all of that chaos that’s happening from the contempt andthe defensiveness that’s going on, okay, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Now Ididn’t share those with you to alarm you because probably you do these things,right? And Gottman acknowledged, yeah, most couples do but the thing that puts themon the miserable side of the equation is if that becomes the habitual way thatthey deal with their unresolvable problems and if they’re not willing tochange it. So glad he said that part because that gives us some hope, right? Sowhat’s on this side over here? Principles. Principle. Like what I shared with youalready about the chain and gravity, right. It’s not magic, it’s not luck, thepeople who are on this side of the equation have understood and appliedcertain principles that allow them to do that, it’s not luck, it’s not magic, thereare nine of those principles that I’m particularly fond of and I’ll share atleast a few of those with you here on this video.
In fact, I think I just giveyou a summary of all night and then we can delve into the details in some othercontent. The first one is what I first shared when we started doing dailyvideos here. In fact, you can link to that video right up here, it’s about howto be positive no matter what. The first principle is positivity and I pick thatone because it has to do with two processes in our mind that areconstantly going on, evaluation and creation, go review the video and you’llsee exactly what I’m talking about. That principle works and it savesrelationships. One of the interesting paradox is there is that you have to doa positive evaluation of what it is in order to set yourself up to actually gocreate something even better. Think about it, yourmarriage for example, your relationship, whatever you’re in right now could beworse, right? Or it could be better and it’s easier to focus on that sometimesbecause you want it to be better but to make it better, sometimes you have toaccept first that it’s already good, that changes the energy, it changes thedynamics and it sets us up for the creation mode where we’re going to goactually improve it. So positivity is that first one that I want to sharewith you. The next one is values, having some common set of values and sometimesthis ties into religion or prayer or meditation or mindfulness, wherewe can come together to decide on a higher purpose for this relationship,that tends to be a solidifying factor in relationships and has shown to be aneffective way to create a healthy functional relationship to have thatcommon shared value. The next one and this is not going to surprise anybody,you got to be humble enough to be willing to change personally and this ishard for people in general because we know that we’re right. Now check in withthis because it’s not that we think we’re right, we know we’re right and whenwe dig in in that place and insist on being right, we treat each other terriblyand most of the conflicts that come up in a relationship or what my friendBrett Williams refers to as the right fight. Brett wrote a book called You Can Be Right Or You Can Be Married.
I love that title but Brett’s convinced thatevery conflict that comes up in a marriage for example gets back to who’sright instead of what’s right. We got to be humble enough to let go of that sothat we’re willing to change. The next one is tied right to it, that we arehumble and willing to change we’re willing to allow others to changeokay and this gets back to that same pride because when we know that we’reright about our judgement of somebody else, we kind of set up a secretresistance to allowing them to change, meaning that we’re willing to see themin a different light and let them move forward and learn from their ownmistakes. Quit bringing up the past, let someone change and be that better personthat they’re already striving to be. The next one, respect. Treating people withrespect, you can see how that could be really important. Love. I believe that ourjob in a relationship is to love people, no matter what and even if. Let’s get ridof the judgement, let’s get rid of the I’m better than you kind of an attitudebut humbly, just accepting our ability and probably responsibility to love inthat relationship.
Followed right on its heels, I’m going to list compassion.Compassion I think combines love with kindness andgentleness and treating people in a compassionate way. The last two that I’mgoig to list today in this list of nine are work, good old-fashioned hard workbecause it’s going to require some to maintain this relationship and finally,fun. Wholesome recreational activities where you give together for the solepurpose of enjoyment and when we’re enjoying our life, what else is there?That’s like the main purpose so we can’t leave that off the list. If we’re nothaving fun, we’re doing it wrong. I just shared with you nine principles. I couldprobably think of two dozen or more that might improve marriage. These areabsolutely powerful and these power tools will help you to actually createand maintain a successful healthy relationship. It’s not magic,it’s not luck. Right, not luck, not magic. These principles make a difference. Iknow that you’ve had some experience with some of these, I would love to dothat and our other subscribers would as well. Comment below.