The Magic Relationship Ratio

The Magic Relationship Ratio thumbnail image
Growing a great relationshipWhat really separates content couples from those in misery is a healthy balance between their positive and negative feelings and actions toward each other.  The magic ratio to successfully doing this is 5 to 1.  As long as there is five times as much positive feeling and interaction between the partners as there is negative, the marriage is likely to be stable. Any couple can identify what their negative emotions feel like in their marriage.  Those are easy to identify.  However, it can sometimes be difficult to identify ways to produce positive emotions to offset the negative ones.  Below are some examples of actions you and your spouse can take to ensure that your ratio stays at 5:1. Be affectionate. This may sound like a no-brainer, but showing your spouse affection can result in positive emotions. Being affectionate does not just mean sex (but it counts!).  You can hold hands while watching the news, hug after a long day of work, or kiss in bed before you go to sleep.  Try to show each other affection every day to solidify those positive emotions. Show you care. Show your spouse that you care about him or her in little ways. Pack his or her lunch.  Buy tickets to his or her favorite band’s concert. Write a nice note.  Showing you care in a continuous way works as a reminder to both of you of how much the relationship means. Be appreciative. When your partner does something for you, appreciate it.  It can be easy to get distracted and forget to say “thank you.”  Acknowledge when your partner goes out of his or her way. It will bring about a positive emotion in both of you. Show your concern. When your partner is upset, share your concern.  Be empathic and resonate with your spouse’s pain.  Doing so will demonstrate that you are in the situation as a couple and will face it as a couple. Be accepting. You cannot change your spouse.  You can only contribute to changing negative interactions you have. Therefore, accept your partner as is. It takes the pressure off both of you to be more than you are not. Joke around. They say that laughter is the best medicine.  It is also very effective in conjuring positive emotions.  When you are happy, share it with your partner.  When your spouse is happy, join in.  Being lighthearted together can strengthen your bond and put things into perspective (Source: Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman, Ph.D)