The Top 2 Most Powerful Traits of Lasting Partners
As Demonstrated by Relationship Scientists
#1 Mindful Kindness Wins Every Time
Its worth noting that a ‘turning away’ response included anything from mild acknowledgement to hostility, expressing annoyance at being interrupted. ‘Turning towards’ responses were warm, fully engaged acknowledgements. The couples with a ‘turning towards’ pattern ended up having a strong lasting relationship 6 years later. The ‘turn away’ couples with low positive engagement were either divorced or struggling chronically after 6 years. Hence, small discussions or ‘bids’ to notice the hummingbirds, turned out to be important micro moments for kindness validation, which meet the partner’s emotional needs. The strongest relationships were proven to be meeting each other’s emotional needs 87% of the time on average through this simple kindness of ‘turning towards’ bids, while crumbling relationships were ‘turning towards’ meeting emotional needs a mere 30% of the time.
#2 Emotional Generosity
Apparently its more important to be generous with joy when things go right, than to ‘be there when the going gets rough.’ In 2006, research psychologist Shelly Gable studied young adult couples for patterns in partner response to good news. They identified four primary categories of responses:
- Passive Destructive
- Active Destructive
- Passive Constructive
- Active Constructive
For example, say partner A announces they got into their top choice veterinary school, partner B responds:
- Passive Destructive = Ignores, not giving it acknowledgement.
- Active Destructive = Questioning the cost, difficulty, and any other joy-killing detail.
- Passive Constructive = A half hearted positive response while texting.
- Active Constructive = Stopping what they are doing and wholeheartedly celebrating the success.
When it was time to follow up later, the only couples still together were the ones generous enough to practice active constructive responses to each other’s news.
Mindfulness is being present without being judgemental, which is the opposite of being self absorbed in thoughts about what you like and don’t like. Applied in a partnership, mindfulness allows a special type of personal alignment, in which you deeply examine your desires and find what’s blocking you from acting with kindness. Maintaining personal balance during wild circumstances is critical, but not easy to do. This centered state allows you to remain receptive, loving and able to move forward with maximized creativity for solutions.
Kindness applied as a constant in partnership is practicing your personal cure for ‘reaction’ based thinking and habits. Reactions create and pour fuel on emotional fires. Kindness is the water that prevents it, puts it out, and helps us better understand each other.
Emotional generosity means consistently making the most generous assumptions about your partner’s intentions, actions and words as possible. This continually reinforces the safety of the relationship and increases how often partners communicate in constructive ways.
Ready For Changes? Being Mindfully Kind Can Permanently Upgrade Your Life
The following resources result from testing these habits in maximum security prison, gathering the best international research for six years and continuing efforts to make these principles accessible to everyone.
Hear the backstory of how Roy, a life sentence serving inmate met Doug, a retired university professor, and started the journey of testing mindful kindness under the severest circumstances. The history of abuse, retaliation and transcendence without physically leaving a maximum security prison is breath taking.
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How Love Wins
Kindness is underestimated by many cultures, but mixed with certain qualities, it’s extremely powerful. In the research based work of How Love Wins, Doug Carnine, PhD explains how fusing mindful kindness into everyday living has a profound upgrading effect to all you do, and how you feel.
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