1. Emotional Calls and the 86% rule: Emotional Calls are your and your partner’s attempts to connect with one another. Research shows that, in healthy, thriving marriages, partners respond to 86% of one another’s Emotional Calls. In marriages heading for divorce, partners respond to only 33%
2. The Inner World: Research shows that you and your partner both have your own unique, subjective reality that you live in everyday. This means that you think and feel differently—about everything—and a big part of marriage is making consistent attempts learn more about your partner’s inner world.
3. The “We:” You and your partner are two different people, but your relationship creates a third entity, with needs distinct from either one of you. This is called your “We.” When you make decision to support your “We,” your relationship health increases.
4. The 96% Conflict Rule: Research shows that, 96% of the time, when a conversation begins poorly—due to tone, volume, words used, or a combination of all three—it ends poorly, too. The lesson? Starting conversations gently and thoughtfully helps you resolve conflict.
5. The Appreciation Effect: Studies show that consistently expressing appreciation (e.g. “Thank you” or “Wow, I really appreciate when you do that for me”) nurtures and protects your relationship over the long haul. It’s the lowest-hanging fruit in your marriage.
6. Co-Create Your Own Culture: The family culture you co-create provides you with the right structure to stay emotionally connected. How? Your culture defines your rituals—those daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms of connection.
7. Money Isn’t About The Math: Conversations about money aren’t about money—they’re about how you each of you envisions the present and the future. Differences in these visions can easily lead to strife. When you’re in a money-related conflict, pause for a moment and ask: “Why do you value (or not value) this?”
8. Your Sex “Script:” There are two key factors related to satisfying sex: emotional connection and conversations about sex. The second one often gets overlooked, but research shows that only 9% of couples who can’t talk comfortably about sex report sexual satisfaction. By talking about sex, couples develop a “script” or “playbook” for how to please one another emotionally and sexually.
9. Interdependence: Married partners are dependent on one another for emotional security and nurturing. However, emotional dependence can become unhealthy. Partners should be able to act interdependently—they can count on one another—without risking their identity.
10. Emotional Forgiveness: Emotional forgiveness ideally enables you to “forget” an offense. The goal? Try as hard as you can to understand your partner, see the world through their eyes, and take responsibility for your part of the conflict, no matter how minor.
The way to get started is to stop talking and begin doing.