Are you and your partner having challenges in your relationship? Do you feel like you have lost the spark or have ongoing conflict? This happens and it is okay! Let’s think of it this way: Building a secure, happy, and healthy relationship is like building a house. This is what Dr. Gottman, a professor, and a relationship expert, calls – The Sound Relationship House.
What is The Sound Relationship House?
The Sound Relationship House is a space where every person in the relationship freely gives their love, respect, faith, and commitment to their partner.
How to build a secure, happy, and healthy relationship
A healthy relationship encourages people to be the best version of themselves. It is also fulfilling and happy. There are two ways we can achieve a healthy and strong relationship: One is to be aware of The Sound Relationship House concept and the second is to apply the concept in your relationship. Before we discuss how to apply The Sound Relationship House concept in your relationship, let’s first talk about what this concept really means.
In The Sound Relationship House concept, each person creates the wall of trust and commitment, goes through each floor, and masters them to create an unbreakable bond. Here’s the image of the house floor by floor.
Trust and Commitment Pillars
Almost all happy, healthy relationships start with freely trusting and committing yourself to one another. Dr. Gottman calls this the Trust and Commitment Pillar. This is the mere basis that holds your relationship together. When both of you decide to have faith and hold onto each other, it makes your love grow deeper and it can make you happier.
First Floor: Build Love Maps
What are your partner’s interests? How do they relieve stress? Do they have a favourite hobby? These questions help you learn more about your partner. Their answers are your love maps, which act as a solid foundation for your relationship. Once you’ve formed the love maps, you won’t wobble around the second floor, which is sharing fondness and admiration to each other.
Second Floor: Share Fondness and Admiration
Isn’t it nice to hear compliments from other people? It can make you feel great and acknowledged, especially when it comes from the person you care most about. If you love your partner’s humor, consider telling them. If you admire how they willingly make time for people, think of ways you can show that you like that side of them. This makes your relationship feel more secure, happy, and healthy because you both know the big and small reasons why you love each other.
Third Floor: Turn Towards
Sometimes your partner needs support, comfort, and attention. When you don’t recognize or don’t do something to make them feel better, you are turning away from them. But when you recognize and cover for their needs, you turn towards them. Turning towards your loved one enhances the security and love you feel in your relationship while turning away damages it. Think about learning your partner’s love language to better recognize how they show love, and then perhaps you can work on improving your ways of turning towards them.
Fourth Floor: The Positive Perspective
Perfection can be a hard trait to accomplish for any person. We can unintentionally do or say things that may hurt the people we love. Having a positive perspective means not criticizing them right away, understanding where they are coming from, and seeing the best in our partners.
Fifth Floor: Manage Conflict
Conflicts are inevitable. Knowing how to handle it can be the solution. Dr. Gottman says you need to accept your partner’s feelings, calmly talk to them about the issue, and take a step back when you feel so angry during an argument. Doing this can help you manage conflict in a calmer way.
Sixth Floor: Make Life Dreams Come True
Isn’t it beautiful to have someone who encourages your goals and helps you achieve them? That’s what people call – relationship goals. Showing support to your partner’s dreams and working together to reach them builds the love and happiness in your relationship.
Seventh Floor: Create Shared Meaning
The top floor of The Sound Relationship House means that you both have a deeper understanding of each other. Both of you can create a culture and routine that show who you are as partners. Perhaps, you can eat at your favourite sushi place every Saturday night. This is your own little world as a couple. Have fun creating it!
How to apply The Sound Relationship House concept in your relationship?
1. Maintain awareness of your partner’s world (First Floor: Build Love Maps)
Observe and ask what are their likes and dislikes, who are their closest friends, and how do they choose to relax. Get to know who they really are as individuals.
2. Compliment them (Second Floor: Share Fondness and Admiration)
Tell them how gorgeous they look. Show them how kind you think they are. Flatter them for all the good things you think they have.
3. Be there for them (Third Floor: Turn Towards)
Hug them if they need comfort. Give them advice when they are unsure of what to do. Focus on your partner when they are conversing with you. Ensure that you are making them feel you are always there for them.
4. See the best in each other (Fourth Floor: The Positive Perspective)
To show that you see the best in your partner despite what you are going through, say things like: “I will choose to understand my partner”; or “They probably did not mean what they said or did because I know my partner is patient and kind”; or “I will not rush into criticism and I will ask them first”.
5. Calm down and then talk (Fifth Floor: Manage Conflict)
Take a deep breath. Understand your partner’s feelings and what’s the cause of it. Talk to them after you’ve calmed down and realized your partner’s side. Remember that you are a team in solving this conflict.
6. Support each other’s goals (Sixth Floor: Make Life Dreams Come True)
Encourage their goals by providing tips on how they can pursue their goals and helping them overcome potential obstacles that may happen while they are reaching their goals.
7. Create couple routines (Seventh Floor: Create Shared Meaning)
Plan an activity that you both enjoy doing once a week. For example, scheduling a movie night every Friday or cooking together on Saturdays.
In general, each couple needs to go through the floors one by one and practice them. But if you think that you already have a solid first floor (Love Maps), you can skip it and go up to the second floor (Sharing Fondness and Admiration).
Reach out to your EFAP if feel that your relationship is in need of attention and support. Our counsellors can help you navigate through specific ways to make your unique relationship work.