What are the predictors of a successful relationship?
Several predictors. We talk about building these love maps. Love maps is really knowing the inner psychological world of your partner, turning towards your partner … What we call “bids.” Right? Partners will kind of throw something out there to connect, and the other person is either going to turn away from the partner or turn towards; so we want to do a lot more of turning towards. Creating shared meaning in the couple; meaning about the relationship, what their visions are for the future. Being able to look at the positive of the other person and really focusing on what’s positive about the person that you chose to marry.
These are all things. Being able to manage conflict, and being able to repair. I always tell my couples, “Just because you come to therapy doesn’t mean you’re not going to fight.” We all fight. It’s about the length of the fights. It’s about how we repair from the fights. If you’re looking to come to therapy to stop fighting, I don’t know if that’s necessarily going to happen. I can tell you that the fighting isn’t as contemptuous. It isn’t as hurtful. You know? All of these components really is what builds a sound relationship. Again, turning towards your partner, focusing on the positive, knowing their inner psychological world, and managing conflict in a healthy way.