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Intimate Relationship Checkup

Dr. John Gottman discerned seven components of healthy relationships, and it is helpful to contemplate them to see if you are improving your intimate relationship. If you and your partner are reasonably reciprocal, you can ask yourself and your partner the following questions. If you are not reasonably reciprocal in your intimate relationship, you can still implement the following principles (on your side) to see if you can reduce conflict, soften defenses, and start fresh.

1. Are You Building Love Maps?

Are you maintaining awareness of your partner’s current inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?

2. Are you Nurturing Fondness and Admiration?

How much affection, appreciation, and respect are you offering to your partner? Every small gesture of fondness, affection and admiration makes a deposit into your relationship bank account.

3. Are You Turning Towards Instead of Away?

Are you turning towards instead of away when your partner bids for connection? Do you often drop what you are doing to engage and connect?

4. Are You Letting Your Partner Influence You?

Do you enjoy an ongoing friendship with your partner? Do you respect your partner's opinion even if you do not agree with it? Do you make every effort to repair relational ruptures when they occur? Do you make efforts to work as a team and soften your insistence on getting your own way to instead work together as a couple?

5. Are you solving your solvable problems?

Do you manage conflict well? Conflict needs to be managed within intimate relationships because it has functional and positive aspects to it. Conflict provides a profound opportunity to understand each other's point of view better. Are you working to solve your solvable problems and accepting your unsolvable problems?

6. Are You working on the gridlocks?

Do you make the effort to help each other's dreams come true? Gridlocks happen when people's life dreams, hopes, aspirations, and wishes for their lives are not being respected by each other. Do you create an atmosphere that encourages your partner to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations?

7. Do You Create Shared Meaning?

Do you share and understand important visions, narratives and metaphors about your relationship? Do you have a family culture that has nurturing traditions? Do you have regular couples rituals that you count on and enjoy?

Here is a video that describes what breaks down a relationship and what builds it up:

How to Build Trust and Commitment

Consider that commitment means that you are on a lifelong journey with the person you love. If things get challenging, you will both work on improving your relationship. This means cherishing and appreciating your partner's good qualities rather than nurturing resentment by magnifying and complaining about their negative qualities. Trust and commitment are built through many small positive moments, kind acts, and supportive words throughout the day.

With love,


PS: Here are some couple's exercises to support you to implement the seven principles:

Exercises for Making a Marriage_Partnership Work
Download PDF • 408KB


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