In relationships, keep a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.

Dr. Jon Gottman is arguably the world’s expert on relationships. He can predict with 94% accuracy which couples will get divorced after a few interactions with them. He’s good.

One of the things he suggests based on his research is to hold a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions with your partner. Meaning, for every one negative interaction you should have five positive ones. For every negative thing you say, you should say five positive things.

Now, you could end up causing yourself more relationship stress by endlessly worrying where your ratio is at, so don’t get too obsessed with this. Instead, use it as a general reference point to assess where you think you’re at and what changes you might need to make moving forward. And then, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could ask your partner what they would say about what your ratio is.

If you do that, make sure to receive whatever they say. You’re not trying to correct them, defend yourself, or tell them off. Just hear. It’s their perception, and that’s really the only one that matters in this instance.

For more details, check out Dr. Gottman’s book, “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.”

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