You’ve probably heard about a bunch of methods and concepts on how to maintain a healthy relationship, but have you heard about The Sound Relationship House? You haven’t? Well then, good thing you landed here!
Do you believe in all those theories that try to teach you how a strong relationship should be built, or are you at least a little skeptical? This theory is actually the main principle of the Gottman Method that helps couples break through barriers in communication.
It also helps them to build and preserve a healthy and happy relationship – because unconditional love, no matter how pure it is, sometimes isn’t enough. There are a lot of other factors that can make or break that pact you create with someone.
We both know that most of the time, those love theories make no sense, or are complete hogwash. So before I start explaining why this one is the complete opposite, let me tell you a bit about its founder.
Dr. John Gottman spent over 40 years of his career as a psychologist trying to find patterns in happy and unhappy marriages. He followed 3,000 couples, observing their behavior and all the ways they interacted with each other.
Based on what he saw, The Sound Relationship House theory was developed. He developed a completely new form of couple’s counseling and what’s unique about it is that it changes according to the couple. Lovers don’t have to pressure themselves to fit in a frame.
Gottman believes that every romantic relationship needs to be strong in three main areas: friendship, communication, and shared values. So now that we know the basics, let’s dive deeper. Ready?
What is The Sound Relationship House theory?
Before we start, I need to ask you to imagine that a relationship is actually a house. Yes, foundations, walls, roof – everything. Got the image? Okay, we can continue.
As we’ve explained previously, this theory was developed after years of research, so it’s not something created overnight. Each couple is different, but there are some core values they all share. The Sound Relationship House theory says that there are four levels of a healthy relationship.
The first and the most important one is the friendship level. It contains three of the seven most important blocks that are essential to building your relationship house. You can compare these to the foundation of a house and we’ll build upon that.
The other three are going to be built over time and you’ll learn to look at your partner’s direction, have conflicts with him, and chase your goals and dreams together. Through this article, we’ll explore seven important building blocks of a happy and healthy relationship.
How are trust and commitment important in this theory?
Do you still have a mental picture of the house we started building? Trust and commitment are going to be the walls of the house, they will hold everything in place. Just keep in mind that trust is all about how you feel, while commitment is your actions and behavior in union.
When you have trust in a relationship, you know that your partner does everything to support you. Trust is accepting that your partner cares about your wants and needs as much as they care about their own. It’s wholeheartedly believing that they’re not going to do anything to (purposely) hurt you.
To build trust, you have to prioritize your partner’s well-being and create an environment where they’ll feel safe. Having trust in a relationship means that there’s no judging or destructive comparison. It involves emphasizing your partner’s good qualities and not focusing on their flaws.
It’s about being vulnerable and emotionally safe, and feeling loved and appreciated.
Being in a committed relationship implies that you’ve decided to build a life together and that you’re ready to cross every obstacle that comes your way. Commitment in a relationship is utterly important because it helps you nurture that healthy relationship we all long for.
If you’re choosing your partner over anyone else, every single day when you wake up, and when you’re solving problems together, that’s something praiseworthy. You accept each other completely and you love every part of your spouse. You’re teammates, partners in crime, and lovers at the same time.
Trust and commitment are entwined – one can’t exist without the other. So, in order to have and keep your relationship healthy, it’s essential that both are present.
The 7 blocks of The Sound Relationship House
The Sound Relationship House means building your personal relationship house from scratch. We’ve already discovered that there are four main stages in the process, and now it’s time to unpack them separately.
We’ve put up the walls, but when we start explaining these seven blocks, we’ll have to go back for a second. You’re well aware that no relationship can endure the pressure society puts on it if both parties involved are not ready to work for it.
Building your own relationship house is not going to be easy; it involves a lot of engagement from both sides. But if you’re prepared to invest your time, love, and patience, I can guarantee you that nothing will be able to destroy it.
So, what are these seven blocks of The Safe Relationship House? Here we go!
1. Build love maps: Discover each other’s worlds
The first step in building the friendship level, and the first of these building blocks, is to build love maps. What does that mean and why is this actually a secret to a long-term and happy marriage?
Surely, they weren’t just lucky, they worked for it. They’ve spent time learning about each other and they liked, loved, and cherished every single person their partner became throughout their lifetime.
If you’re also doing this, then congratulations! You’re building love maps of each other’s inner world.
You share the good and bad stories, all the emotions you’ve felt, and all the experiences that shaped you into the person you are. Dedicating time to truly meet your spouse is going to be the best investment in your life.
And as time goes by, the blank map will transform into one with all the features and landmarks neatly pointed out. Eventually, you won’t need a legend or compass to navigate it. You’ll know each curve, color, and elevation change by heart.
Limerence, more commonly known as the honeymoon phase, is the beginning stage of a relationship. You’re simply in love with the person you chose to be with and you overlook the flaws they have.
This is the period where we don’t pay enough attention to some important things that should be put under the spotlight.
As soon as this phase is over, that’s when the problems usually start. That’s when you’ll need to work the hardest if you want to maintain what you’ve built so far. Couples are usually not aware of the importance of this stage. It comes naturally to all of us when we just start dating.
After a while, we lose that habit of appreciating our partner and forget to give them the affection that they need. Using words of affirmation and verbalizing your feelings for them is something you should never stop doing. Keep rooting for them along the way, especially in tough times.
Don’t quit, no matter how challenging it gets. I know that this is easier said than done, but always be their support. Also, keep in mind to practice gratitude, and maintain respect and passion. These are vital if you want to build your sound relationship house.
3. Turn towards instead of away: Learn the magic of bids
What are bids? As Gottman put it, bids can be described as “the fundamental unit of emotional communication.”
Simply put, it’s the craving for connection. Be it verbal or non-verbal, big or small, an expression or act of service, bids are really important in maintaining a healthy relationship.
Hugs, kisses, or any kind of physical affection play a big role in building a stronger connection between the two of you. Honesty, courtesy, and kindness will help you down the road as well. Showing your partner that you’re always there for them and that they can be vulnerable around you is important.
Responding to these bids, no matter how they are expressed, actually helps you to turn towards instead of away from your partner. When you decide not to reciprocate, that results in neglecting your partner’s needs and they may not feel valued.
So, when you learn the magic of bids and start paying attention to your partner, that’s when you’ll be able to put this block of The Sound Relationship House in the construction of your relationship. This stage will require you to be vulnerable and completely open toward them.
4. The positive perspective: Look at things through a positive lens
This one is not so difficult to guess. Yes, having a positive perspective means looking at your partner and your relationship through a positive lens. This is the first step away from the friendship level and it comes naturally when fulfilling those that we’ve mentioned before.
You believe that you and your partner are on the same team and you’re not rushing to conclusions. Taking the time to get to the root of problems and giving your partner the benefit of the doubt, helps you to practice this block of positive perspective.
How do you do that? It’s inevitable that your partner has influence over you and you should allow that without hesitation. There’s no need to look at your partner’s mistakes as their personal failures, but rather as consequences of happy little accidents.
Make conversations more meaningful, accept their positive influence on you, nurture fondness and admiration, and turn towards each other. That’s when your positive perspective will amplify and the theory of The Sound Relationship House will start having an effect.
5. Manage conflict: They are inescapable
You’ve probably heard one too many times that conflict is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. Conflicts will always be present in all interpersonal connections and we simply have to learn how to manage them.
From time to time, you’ll want to pull out your hair, scream, and isolate yourself rather than face your partner and talk it through with them. But you have to opt for the second option. You have to resolve everything together and you shouldn’t avoid conflicts.
Be considerate of your partner’s feelings and observe non-verbal signs if your words are hurting them. Knowing when to stop and learning the art of self-soothing will keep the situation from getting out of hand.
Disagreements are bound to happen, but it’s up to both of you to be respectful even in those moments. Talk with your partner about what’s bothering you without restraint, and leave out the fear of being judged. Learn to compromise and your relationship is sure to flourish.
6. Make life dreams come true: Encourage your partner to reach their goals
This block of The Sound Relationship House theory is something you’ve probably partially fulfilled after completing the first block. Since you’ve already built a beautiful friendship with your partner, you probably know most of their dreams and goals in life.
Now, not only should you support them, but you need to take it a step further and help to reach them. It’s not always going to be easy, especially if they differ a lot from your own, but this will only strengthen your relationship.
Usually, when a couple gets serious about their commitment to each other or gets married, they tend to overlook and postpone their individual dreams and goals. It’s important that you build your life together, no ifs or buts there.
However, you shouldn’t forget those that you’ve made as individuals. What was your aspiration in life before you put your union before your personal needs? Your partner needs to support you in achieving your own happiness and vice versa. This will only increase the pleasure your relationship brings.
Last but not least, you should create shared meaning. When we’re talking about this level of The Sound Relationship House theory, we’re talking about your goals and dreams as a couple. You have to create and come up with them together.
Completing this last block will require a complete understanding of each other needs, wants, and desires. Oftentimes, it can be demanding, but it really is crucial if you want to build a strong bond. Then from there, start paving your path toward an authentic future together.
Create memories and co-author wonderful life stories. Catch breathtaking sunsets and stay awake for spectacular sunrises. Set aside one date night a week and put in some extra effort to dress up. Make it that one week you’re the one organizing it, then let him do it the next one.
Cherish each other and make your own way of celebrating important dates like birthdays or anniversaries. Stick together and prove your love constantly. Save money together to go on a dream vacation or buy your own apartment.