How do you make love last? The Gottmans have the answer. The psychologist duo has spent the last 20 years refining a method to build a loving relationship -- or at least to help you test whether your own relationship will last. And the success rates are surprisingly accurate, according to the report of one writer who recently tried it out herself.
According to the profile-cum-essay, the Gottmans have identified questions and case scenarios that can predict a couple’s success rate with terrifying consistency, and they're charging $750 per couple to use these insights to help fix your partnership in a two-day workshop called "The Art and Science of Love."
The basic building blocks of John and Julie Gottman's training rest on their understanding of the essential elements that comprise a happy relationship:
“They imagine that a happy relationship [is] built consecutively in seven layers. The foundation [is] a strong friendship, based on John’s laboratory findings that couples who spoke more fluidly and in more detail about each other and their pasts were more likely to stay together. Then came sharing admiration, 'turning towards' each others’ bids and developing positive feelings about the coupling... at the top -- the pinnacle of a great relationship -- came helping each others' dreams come true and building a shared sense of purpose, like volunteering or traveling the world.”
If your partnership doesn't fit neatly into this pyramid however, they also have a solution:
In an Atlantic article called "Masters of Love," the Gottmans "propose a recipe for becoming a 'love master' instead of a love 'disaster' by responding the right way to what they calls your partner's 'bids for connection.' A 'bid' is when your lover points out your kitchen window and marvels, 'Look at that beautiful bird outside!' You could go 'Wow!' and get binoculars (an active 'turn-towards'); mumble 'Huh,' and keep reading your newspaper (a passive reaction, less good); or say, 'I'm sick of your fucking birds. What about the broken garage door?'"
Which sounds really easy in theory, but in practice? What “makes two human beings give a shit about the fragile dreams hiding behind each others’ most intransigent and frustrating opinions and have that magical effect on each other like a powerful chemical tranquilizer in the first place?” That, partner psychologist Robert Levenson admits, “still requires scientific study.” Oh, well. They're getting closer.
Michelle No is an editorial assistant at Supercompressor and thinks shared pizza topping preferences are the key to making love stay. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.