Stop what you’re doing, and take a moment to consider this question – it’s more important than you might think:
How did you and your partner first meet?
Reflect on the emotions that first drew you and your partner together. Can you feel the nervous excitement? The focused adoration?
Here’s why the last 30 seconds you just spent reminiscing were invaluable:
According to Tara Parker-Pope’s fresh read For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, the manner in which couples reminisce about their first meeting is predictive of the security of their marriage. Summarizing research by the renowned Dr. John Gottman, For Better suggests that the how-we-met story is 94% accurate in reflecting which couples will divorce, and which couples will stay married.
Pretty incredible, right? Allow me to unpack this for you.
Dr. John Gottman gathered 52 couples and asked them how they met their partner. Their stories were then evaluated, and the couples who reminisced that first meeting affectionately and fondly tended to stay together, whereas the couples whose stories were laced with regret and bitterness were more likely to divorce.
The science is discussed in the book, but essentially your brain is on a dopamine (feel-good) high during the initial stage of most romantic relationships. The critical-thinking part of your brain is less active during this stage, so you’re able to fall head-over-heels without paying much attention to your partner’s less lovable traits.
If you are happily married, you likely remember those first meetings with selective attention on your partner’s positive characteristics (“She was so athletic – I loved that she had fun on the soccer field”).
However, if your how-we-met story is tinged with contempt (“She was always so busy with her game schedule – and stunk after practice,”) it may be a reflection of discontent in your marriage. Current perception shapes which aspects of our memories we focus on.
So, how can you and your partner use this groundbreaking research to benefit your relationship? Watch our new vlog to find out!
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
P.S. – Do you feel that you and your partner could benefit from relationship counseling or marriage therapy? You don’t have to wait – it is always a good time for a Relationship Tuneup. If you live in Monrovia, Arcadia, Covina, Altadena, Pasadena, or other nearby cities, book your first session by clicking on the link below! I look forward to connecting with you soon.