Relationship Minute: Emotional agility

The way you deal with your emotions shapes everything that matters: your actions, career, relationships, health, and happiness.

According to Harvard psychologist Susan David, emotional agility is the ability to apply the right emotion to the right person in the right situation at the right time.

It’s a process that enables you to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind.

It isn’t about ignoring difficult emotions and thoughts. It’s about holding those emotions and thoughts loosely, facing them courageously and compassionately, and then moving past them to ignite change in your life.

Related blog posts

The Relationship Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 5 March 2019. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

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Relationship Minute: Focus on being interested, not interesting

In his 1937 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

While Carnegie’s advice centers on friendship and sales, our research shows that you can apply the same principles to build better relationships with your spouse, your siblings, your children, your boss—anyone who plays a significant role in your life.

That’s because everybody wants to feel valued and appreciated.

So focus on being interested, not interesting.

Related blog posts

The Relationship Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 28 February 2019. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Relationship Minute: Pay attention

It’s not the depth of intimacy in conversations that matters.

It doesn’t even matter whether you agree or disagree.

The important thing is how you pay attention to each other, no matter what you’re talking about or doing.

So listen to your partner. And put your phone down when they want to chat.

Related Blog Posts

The Relationship Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 12 February 2019. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: Halloween Rituals

Some couples get really into Halloween. If you’re one of those couples, that’s great. If you’re not, that’s okay, too.

Even if you don’t dress up as Sandy and Danny from Grease, you can still celebrate tomorrow. Holidays are an opportunity to create rituals of connection in your relationship.

In his book The Intentional Family, Bill Dougherty discusses “rituals of connection” as an important tool for successful relationships. A ritual of connection is a way of regularly turning towards your partner that can be counted on.

Instead of going to a Halloween party, you could stay in and watch the same scary movie together every year. Or you could carve pumpkins. Whatever you do, make it your “thing.”

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 30 October 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: Dream Together

When was the last time you and your partner dreamed about your future together?

Our research shows that dreaming together creates shared meaning in a relationship. You don’t need to have the same dreams as your partner. You just need to support them.

If you’re dating or engaged, ask each other questions like, “Where do you want to live?” and “What do you want our home to look like?” and “How do you want to celebrate holidays?”

If you’re married, ask each other questions like, “Where do you see our marriage in five years?” and “Where do you want to travel together?” and “How do you want to raise our children?”

If you’re empty nesters, ask each other questions like, “How do you want to spend our retirement?” and “How do you want to be involved in the community?” and “What legacy do you want to leave?”

As you live your lives life together, it’s important—and fun—to talk about your dreams as a way to give purpose and meaning to your marriage.

Open-Ended Questions
For more Open-Ended Questions to facilitate meaning conversations, download Gottman Card Decks for free.

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 9 October 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: A stroll down memory lane

Your first date. Your first kiss. Your first anniversary. Your first vacation together.

What do you remember about those moments? What stands out to you now?

Taking a stroll down memory lane can be a powerful way to reconnect with your partner. Look through old photos or pull out your scrapbook if you need to jog your memory.

Periodically reflecting on the positive, not the negative, memories of your past experiences will bring back those good feelings and will keep your marriage strong for years to come.

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 2 October 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: My spouse is a gamer

Here’s another great reader email.

I’d love to hear advice on how to deal with a spouse who is a gamer. My husband is much better than he was, and far better than some, but sometimes I feel that the games take precedence over our relationship and our time and that hurts.

Fortnite made headlines last week after being cited in more than 200 divorce proceedings in the United Kingdom.

Every relationship is different, so we don’t have rules about video game usage. Some people play games to decompress and that’s their thing.

We do recommend that you establish rules that work for you and your marriage.

What’s most important is how you talk about it. Remember the soft start-up formula: I feel ___, about ___, and I need ___. Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

Don’t judge. Instead of accusing or blaming, just describe what you see and feel. This will help prevent your spouse from feeling attacked or getting defensive.

Again, it’s important to establish policies that feel fair to you both—and then to respect them.

Gaming addiction
If you think you or your partner may be suffering from a video game addiction, it’s best to seek the professional guidance of a trained therapist.

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 27 September 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.