If Happy Marriages Have 5 Positives to Each Negative… ??

What do you actually DO?

I mean, are we supposed to just run around giving compliments like crazy?

In research done by Dr. John Gottman, we learn that marriages that are considered “happy” have a number of things in common.  Here’s just a few:

  • A complete absence of contempt
  • 5 “positive” interactions to each “negative” 1
  • A solid friendship
  • More sex
  • More time together talking
  • Celebrate successes of the other person
  • Daily small positive encounters
  • and they bring out the best in each other

Several of those ARE positives, obviously. But what are some of the “small” things that get overlooked?

Here’s just a few:

  • Empathize instead of trying to “fix” whatever your partner is struggling with
  • Bringing a cup of coffee or other small kindness
  • Listening attentively
  • Asking for advice, then taking it
  • Saying, “Thank you,” for a compliment
  • Giving a compliment – strength based, supported by a short story about why it matters
  • A small act of service
  • A small purchase – if you aren’t pinching pennies at the moment
  • Being thrifty regardless, but not stingy (balance)
  • A touch when communicating
  • Eye contact when listening
  • Confiding a fear (show of trust)
  • Doing a chore he hates to do
  • Listening without interrupting
  • Asking, “Is there anything I can do for you today?”
  • Doing it
  • Asking him questions about his life – be interested
  • Affirming him publicly
  • Affirming him privately
  • Initiating intimacy

coffee life changed

So will you join us? The Lenten season starts today. Maybe this year, instead of giving up something, you actively choose to ADD effort in the 5:1 department. Maybe yes, decrease the negatives, but ADD encouragement to your relationships. Be the #1 fan to the kids you mother and the man you married.

We’re figuring these things out, one small step at a time, blogging our way through The Respect Dare book. And like we talked yesterday, the training technology in The Respect Dare and in Daughters of Sarah is proven.

And we had no idea.

And if you are parenting little people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year, or schedule one of our weekend retreats. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussions!

What do YOU think? What would you add? How are you doing in the 5:1 ratio department? How can you take things up a notch?

Love to you,




titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “If Happy Marriages Have 5 Positives to Each Negative… ??

  1. Terrific suggestions! I think there is a culture, especially among younger folks, of disrespect being the norm, or even “cool.” Blessings to the work you are doing to change lives and marriages! I found you via a RT from @MsPhareedah.

    • Kim –
      YES. Wise words, indeed.
      And the adult culture? Sarcastic. Disrespectful.
      Glad you are here, gorgeous!
      Love to you,

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