How Positive Talk Can Save Your Relationship

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Barbara Fredrickson, author of the book, Positivity, reveals the impact of the “Losada ratio”. This ratio measures positive feedback compared to negative feedback. Her conclusion states that with a ratio of 2.9 : 1, or better, for positive to negative statements, companies, for example, would flourish more than a company with a lower ratio.

I don’t know much about ratios and percentages (I was never good at math) but I do know that positive reinforcement makes people feel better than say, receiving negative feedback. It seems pretty obvious. It must’ve been a slow day in the world of research.

John Gottman, a marriage researcher, used this idea of ratios, while he listened to married couples’ conversations. He concluded that for every one critical statement, there should be five positive ones. If not, then he said that the marriage would be headed for divorce. This guy has balls.

Sure I can pick apart my boyfriend. The list of his flaws, annoyances and irritations could fill a Dead Sea scroll, but why do it? I don’t understand the point or how it would benefit my relationship.

It’s sad that we need to be reminded about kindness and positivity in our relationships. For me, a simple, “Hey, you’re ass looks great,” or “I love your lips, eyes, (insert body part here)” means so much. I think that I speak for most women when I say that we rarely get tired of hearing, “I love you,” from our partners. My personal favorite is, “I fucking adore you.”

Unsolicited critical comments suck. I’m never sure what purpose they serve. If I solicit an opinion from my partner, that’s one thing, but if I put on a pair of shorts and my lover gives me a look like he’s just sucked on a lemon, and suggests that I put on a tighter pair, perhaps one that rides up my butt crack, then I will have a hissy fit. Why do it, lover?

Again, why be critical in the first place? T.H.I.N.K before you speak, and answer the following before you open your pie hole.

T- is it TRUE
H- is it HELPFUL
I- is it INSPIRING
N- is it NECESSARY
K- is it KIND

Sometimes pride gets in the way of telling our lover how we feel about them. Perhaps some don’t want their lovers to get a swelled ego. But remember, there’s nothing wrong with making your lover feel confident. Perhaps some don’t like to appear vulnerable, so they hold back or they find it safer to be negative. Great, but what if your lover (god forbid) gets hit by a bus and you never told them how much you appreciated them watering the plants when you were out of town? Will you be happy then?

Don’t take each another for granted. Familiarity breeds contempt, but only if you let it. Take a moment and say thank you. My boyfriend thanks me by smacking my ass. Come to think of it, most of the time he’s just smacking me and not thanking me at all, but it still feels good.

Be each other’s cheerleaders. Be the president of your lover’s fan club. There are plenty of strangers that come in and out of our lives, and some of them will be critical and offer negative feedback, trying to knock us down. We don’t need the person that we love and who loves us, to be that jackass.

I’m going to test this ratio theory and see if my relationship improves. If it works for me and for others as well, then John Gottman is going to put a lot of therapists out of business.