What makes relationships to last?
18 August 2016, 18:21
Nairobi - We all have different ideas about relationships either at dating or marriage stage. We strongly believe there are things, characters or virtues that define the stability of a relationship. Maybe yes, maybe not.
A new book by Jonah Lehrer-A Book about Love compiles research findings on some of the interesting biases and convictions we hold when looking for a partner, how we stay with them and why we choose them.
Often we search for the other person who shares our similarities but from research as indicated in the book, the only type of similarity significant to a long-lasting relationship is the one called meta-emotions which means how you feel about feelings. That is looking for someone who handles emotions as you.
He refers to John Gottman from the University of Washington who has conducted various studies on meta-emotions and argues that they are the real signal variable in terms of predicting whether or not a marriage will last.
“Do you believe you should express anger? Or do you believe in holding it in and waiting for it to fizzle out? Do you think happiness should be shared but anger should be suppressed? Sharing your meta-emotional style gives you a common emotional template, a common language,” he quotes Gottman.
Further, the tendency to act safe in a lasting relationship is not a good sign. A character that is always focused on avoiding conflicts is not a good one since differences between two people will always arise no matter what. And so what matters most is finding someone who can tackle them the way you would and not ignore or run away from them altogether.
Jonah quotes another researcher Daniel Wilde who says “Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems.” There is no partner with whom we’re not going to fight and get annoyed and complain about. The question is how you deal with those problems….Even minor annoyances tend to become huge fights, because one partner wants to express and the other partner thinks you should hold it in and then all of a sudden it explodes. In contrast, when you have compatible meta-emotional styles — when people agree on how feelings should be expressed — they’re able to diffuse these tensions before they get too big and dangerous.
And so if you are looking for a life partner, find one you can fight and laugh together every day because then you will be promised of a lifelong relationship. Because if you are not fighting then it means both of you don’t care about each other at all because we all raise issues out of concern
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