They said, “Talk to me, I want to hear how you feel about this.”Contempt is talking down to their partner. Not only did it predict relationship breakup, but it predicted the number of infectious illnesses that the recipient of contempt would have in the next four years when we measured health. It passively tells your partner, “I don’t care.” And 85% of the time it’s guys who do this.
Research shows, happy people seek out the positive and are grateful for it. There’s a very similar dynamic in relationships: Masters scan their relationship for good things, disasters are always noting the bad.
And not only that — the Masters’ way of looking at the world is actually People who have this negative habit of mind miss 50% of the positivity that outside objective observers see.
From looking at the Masters, John saw what prevented the downward spiral of the 4 Horsemen: Why is this so rare? Humor is very powerful because it reduces physiological arousal during arguments and that’s been replicated in several studies. (For more on the science of sexy, click here.) Admiration is about the story you tell yourself about your partner.
And that leads us to how to predict whether your relationship is working…
Here’s John: Our best prediction of the future of a relationship came from a couple’s “story of us.” It’s an ever-changing final appraisal of the relationship and your partner’s character. 96% of the time John can predict the outcome of a conversation within the first three minutes.
Some people were really developing a “story of us” that was very negative in which they really described all the problems in the relationship. Masters did just the opposite: they minimized the negative qualities that all of us have and they cherish their partner’s positive qualities. (For more on what research says makes love last, click here.) Is there a part of a relationship conversation that’s critical? Here’s John: Negativity feeds on itself and makes the conversation stay negative.
We also did seven years of research on how Masters repair that negativity.
One of the most powerful things is to say “Hey, this isn’t all your fault, I know that part of this is me.
Click here.) Okay, that’s what kills a relationship. John cited a study showing couples with kids talk to each other about 35 minutes per week. We all frequently make little bids for our partner’s attention. ” It’s almost like a video game: when the person responds positively (“turning towards a bid”) your relationship gets a point.
Naturally, you want to know what stops those things from occurring, right? When they don’t respond, or respond negatively, the relationship loses a point… Here’s John: If you turn toward bids at a high rate, you get a sense of humor during conflict.
Let’s round it up and finish with the thing John said that impressed me the most.