3 Things That Make Horsemen Go Bye-Bye
From looking at the Masters, John saw what prevented the downward spiral of the 4 Horsemen:
#1: Know Thy Partner
John calls this building “love maps.” It’s really knowing your partner inside and out. It was one of the Masters’ most powerful secrets. Here’s John:
A love map is like a road map you make of your partner’s internal psychological world. The Masters were always asking questions about their partner and disclosing personal details about themselves.
Why is this so rare? It takes time. And the disasters didn’t spend that time. In fact, most couples don’t spend that much time.
John cited a study showing couples with kids talk to each other about 35 minutes per week. Yeah, 35 minutes.
And even most of that was just logistics — “When will you be there?” “Don’t forget to pick up milk.” — not deep personal stuff like the Masters.
#2: Responding positively to “bids”
No, this has nothing to do with eBay. We all frequently make little bids for our partner’s attention.
You say something and you want them to respond. To engage. It can be as simple as saying, “Nice day, isn’t it?”
It’s almost like a video game: when the person responds positively (“turning towards a bid”) your relationship gets a point.
When they don’t respond, or respond negatively, the relationship loses a point… or five. Here’s John:
The couples who divorced six years later had turned toward bids only 33% of the time. The couples stayed married had turned toward bids 86% of the time. Huge difference.
Couples with high scores build relationship equity. They’re able to repair problems. They’re able to laugh and smile even when arguing. And that makes a big difference. Here’s John:
If you turn toward bids at a high rate, you get a sense of humor during conflict. Humor is very powerful because it reduces physiological arousal during arguments and that’s been replicated in several studies.
#3: Show admiration
Ever listen to someone madly in love talk about their partner? They sound downright delusional. They act like the other person is a superhero. A saint.
And research shows that is perfect. Masters see their partner as better than they really are. Disasters see their partners as worse than they really are.
Admiration is about the story you tell yourself about your partner. And that leads us to how to predict whether your relationship is working…
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