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masters and disasters of love, by emily esfahani smith


Stashed in: #happiness, Respect, #love, Gratitude, Emotion, #kindness, Relationships, Awesome, Music Videos!, life, Beatles!, Marriage, Love, Relationships, Compassion, @emesfahanismith, @emmaseppala, relationships, communication

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the lesson from the research is clear: if you want to have a stable, healthy relationship, exercise kindness early and often.

Of course I believe this instinctively. I wish that more people did. I hope that more people learn this.

Gottman's four apocalyptic horsemen of a relationship:

• contempt

• criticism

• defensiveness

• stonewalling

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there. People who give their partner the cold shoulder—deliberately ignoring the partner or responding minimally—damage the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and invisible, as if they’re not there, not valued. And people who treat their partners with contempt and criticize them not only kill the love in the relationship, but they also kill their partner's ability to fight off viruses and cancers. Being mean is the death knell of relationships.

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together. Research independent from theirs has shown that kindness (along with emotional stability) is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved.

It's sad when I see the seeds of contempt find their first fertile ground in a relationship.

Something small could plant those seeds, but if they aren't weeded out, they eventually grow to destroy the relationship.

Compassion and empathy are the tools to weed that garden.

Hmmm, maybe this analogy is not as great as I thought.

the analogy is great!  i suppose the best thing is to respect someone so much that the seeds of contempt get tossed out before they ever even find fertile ground.

Ooh, I like that! In general I'm in favor of gardening analogues when it comes to relationships.

garden analogies do work very well.  roots, growth, blossoming, harvest, maintenance... it's all there!

It is. Cue Elton John's song to John Lennon:

It's funny how one insect can damage so much grain.

that's a great song!  elton looks so young and healthy.  man, can he sing.

and yes, one insect can damage so much grain...

The line is ironic because the gardener in the song John Lennon was a Beatle.

Great song but sad. Elton John uses his music to work through pain. And man can he sing!

Is gratitude part of kindness or a consequence of it?

By observing these types of interactions, Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples—straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or not—will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later. Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

i think gratitude is the emotional stability that accompanies kindness.

That .... is a perfect thought.

It really is. Thank you Emily!

aww, thanks guys.  you're so kind.

i think gratitude is the least remembered quality.  how rare it is to have someone thank me for something small I'd done for them in the past but how wonderful to be remembered.  makes me want to do more acts of kindness for others. 

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