Here’s a simple way to determine if your relationship is headed in the wrong direction or not:
Think back on the past week and add up the amount of positive moments between you and your mate vs. the negative ones you’ve had.
Does the list make you smile? Or does it make you cringe? Well, there’s your answer.
From a slip of the tongue and saying something hurtful during an argument to picking up a spontaneous, surprise gift on the way home, every relationship has its fair share of great moments and not so great moments.
But the question is, do the negative ones outnumber the positive? Or vice versa? And by how much?
If you find yourselves in a state of constant criticism, fighting or showing a lack of support or appreciation for each other, it might be time to consider getting help.
I once worked with a client who wasn’t sure whether she wanted to move forward with her relationship or not. I encouraged her to take some time to think and write down the amount of positive interactions vs. negative interactions she had with her boyfriend.
She called me the next week, “Jay, After this past week, I could only come up with ONE. One positive interaction since I’ve last seen you. I think it’s pretty clear what choice I should make.”
Obviously this example is on one side of the extreme, but in his extensive research with couples, Dr. John Gotttman found that satisfied couples maintained a ratio of 5 positive moments to every 1 negative moment in their relationship.
While technically, there’s no set formula for relationship satisfaction, this 5:1 ratio can be a great gauge to get a sense of whether you’re on the right track.
What steps can you take to move your positive moments up and drive your negative moments down?
Try taking note of what those positive moments consist of. Were they moments where you felt a great sense of support? Was it a moment appreciation? Or maybe it was a moment where you really needed to be heard and your mate gave you their undivided attention.
Whatever it was, discuss it with your partner and make it a point to intentionally create these moments with each other more often. As a result, you’ll notice that you’ll feel closer, more intimate and more satisfied with your relationship overall.