It’s Spring and love is in the air. Would you like to improve your relationship and keep your love strong and fulfilling? Now you can with some of the valuable tips we learned from our guest on Love University, Kyle Benson, intimate relationship coach. Kyle worked with Dr. John Gottman, the world-renowned marriage researcher who can accurately predict whether a marriage will fail or succeed by observing a couple's communication style for a short period of time. Now a popular relationship coach, Kyle shared his insights on how to become a “Master Couple,” and build a harmonious and joyful relationship. Master couples are those who can manage conflict well and are each other’s best friends. Master couples are able to:
*Know each other’s Love Maps: Master couples know each other intimately and thoroughly—they have a “Love Map” to their partner. On an everyday basis, you can learn your partner’s love map by asking open-ended questions and getting to know your love partner’s deepest values, preferences, fears, joys, and desires (“What are you afraid of? What makes you happy?”). Love is really a “deep understanding of another.” The more you know about each other, the closer you will feel.
*Turn toward each other: Master couples listen to and support each other. When one of them makes a remark, “Look at that beautiful bird over there,” the other may reply, “Yes, it’s beautiful.” Disaster couples, on the other hand, either argue (“Stop wasting your time; get the chores done), or ignore each other (stay on their phone). Turning toward each other is important because it shows that you care enough to listen to your partner and affirm them.
*Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes your partner may make a mistake or may do something that irritates or bothers you. When they don’t do something that you asked them to do (go to the store), don’t be too quick to jump on them with criticism (“You’re lazy”). Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt and ask, “Are you tired? Did you have a tough day at work?" When you demonstrate empathy like this, your partner will appreciate your kindness and will return the favor.
*Fill their love bank. Master couples make more positive than negative statements to their partner (“Honey, I love the way you make love,” “You’re so smart”). Disaster couples do the opposite. They start their conversations with negatives (“You never…Why do you did this?”) and continue with more negatives (“You’re stupid; you’re a jerk”). When you and your partner sincerely compliment and express gratitude for each other's good traits and helpful behaviors, you build a love bank: a repository of all the good energies and feelings that can help your relationship get through the tough times. Make a daily deposit—say something nice, loving, and heartfelt to your mate—and you will fill your love bank account. In the process, you will build a strong and loving relationship.
*Repair the relationship. Even Master couples disagree and fight with each other—sometimes quite loudly and forcefully. The difference between them and the disaster couples is that they know how to repair the relationship. In the midst of a heated argument, one of them will say something funny, or perhaps offer a soothing physical gesture (hug or touch) to de-escalate the situation. They may also take an intelligent timeout (“Honey, this is getting heated. I’m going for a walk and will be back in ten minutes. Is it OK if we talk then?”). As a result of their repair attempts, the relationship can survive hurt feelings, and the couple can work things out without harboring resentments that will come back later to damage the relationship.
Yes, you and your partner can become a Master Couple—a romantic pairing of truth, light, and love. You and your mate can practice the techniques of Kyle and Gottman to create a powerful, lasting, and loving relationship that stands the test of time. Start today and tell your partner how much you love them and can’t live without them—then demonstrate your love with small gestures and actions. When you do this, you will ride the wave of a beautiful love that serves as an example of relationship greatness for your children and everyone around you. Enjoy: Love is the greatest gift of all.