According to Psychologist John Gottman, there are four(4) damaging behaviour that could ruin any relationship:

1. Criticize your partner as much as you can. Do it as harshly as you can

2.Whenever you are being criticized, be as defensive as possible. Ignore what your partner says and point out his/her own faults.

3. Be contemptuous of your partner with sarcasm, mockery and abuses

4. Ignore conflicts. Go out of the house to your friends or drinking joints whenever a conflict ensues at home.

These behaviours are decidedly destructive and no relationship can survive with them. When partners talk about “hellish” ralationships or marriage , these are the correlates. They are spin-offs of communication breakdown and predictive of separation or even divorce .

So, what positive principles make intimate relationship flourish ?

Psychologists have identified seven (7) that, if put into practice, would make relationships withstand any stress and enjoyable:

1. Learn what is important to your partner. ASK ! Ask your partner how his/her day went; what’s on his/her mind; his hopes and dreams. You should also focus on positive things you want your partner to do rather than things you do not want done.

2. Appreciate your partner’s good points. See his or her weaknesses as endearing foibles that can be overcome. Do whatever you can to help your partner rise above his weak points or learn to cope with them. Everybody has weaknesses. Always admire your partner.

3. Spend quality time together. Do not allow any engagement to abort this practice.

4. Let your partner influence you. Work as a team and make joint decisions.

5. Solve problems together to achieve a win-win situation. Try to see problems from the other person’s perspective and always arrive at a workable compromise.

6. However, some problems are intractable and a compromise may be far-fetched. In this wise, engage in dialogue and agree to adopt the solution suggested by one of you and implement the solution jointly. At all times, always avoid a gridlock.

7. Create shared meaning. Define family values and culture that override any individual preferences. These values should be fulcrum for raising children in the family. There must be unity of purpose because a divided house will collapse sooner rather than later.

Rótìmí Adelola, Ph.D; DhE

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