The science behind a happy relationship: When a relationship begins, happiness blooms like dandelions in spring. The most logical concomitant of this surge in happiness and bliss is the rise in one’s confidence that a person is capable of being loved.
It is human nature that when someone loves you, you start appreciating yourself in spaces where your personal lens could not be stretched. You not only start loving yourself but you start loving the feeling of being love. As a relationship grows in terms of years, normalcy and differences are bound to creep in.
In the end it all bottles down to the question that whether your partner was the right choice or just another mistake that promised nothing but pain. So, the question that is parried by most of us who are heartbroken is: what does it take to have that ideal relationship?
As most of us say that an ideal relationship is a misnomer and it entails a lot of effort to make it work. The truth is that Relationships cannot be perfect but what you make of it can be.
So, let us take a look at the science behind planting the seed of a happy relationship that matures into a fruitful tree.
The Michelangelo Effect
The Michelangelo Effect is one of the most interesting phenomena to study in Psychology. The term was coined in a 1999 study that was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The concept illustrates the impact of a close partner on oneself and how the results or changes evince from that partnership.
In crudest terms, the Michelangelo Effect “describes the means by which the self is shaped by a close partner’s perceptions and
What is Michelangelo Effect?
“The Effect is so named because it treats a close partner as a sculptor who helps you shape yourself into something which is thought to be ideal by both of you.”
As Michelangelo described his sculpture of David,” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” So, the bottom line is that you are a marble slab and your partner is the artist.
The idea that emanates from the Effect is that when the relationship rests on love and respect, the partners help each other bring out the best in each other.
For instance, if you have a strained relationship with your parents or you are too nonchalant about the whereabouts of your parents, your partner may help you ease that knot in your equation with your parents.
Your partner may encourage you to call frequently at home; participate in the small events at home or even arrange an outing with your family, just so you realize the bond of togetherness in the family and the great anchor that a family serves as a solid support system.
The happiest couples help each other in stepping ahead to get closer to your ideal self.
Emotionally Focused Therapy
There is no relationship sans any differences. Differences sprout only when there is enough space for the partners to breathe and register their opinions.
If a relationship does not bring sufficient room to express yourself at your disposal, these small unsaid thoughts often
Sue Johnson, a noted psychologist of Ottawa says: “what makes couples unhappy is when they have an emotional disconnection and they cannot get a feeling of a
“She further claims that “criticism and rejection — often met with defensiveness and withdrawal — are exceedingly distressing, and something that our brain interprets as a danger cue.”
To plug this gap in emotional responsiveness, Johnson aced the Emotionally Focused Therapy, wherein the partners learn to have conversations in which the couple expresses their needs, carefully dodging criticism.
Such a conversation prunes emotional responsiveness, allowing room for each partner to speak his or her heart out and at the same time avoid criticism.
Such conversations foster response between the partners and envelop the differences with understanding, respect for freedom, and maturity.
“Couples have to learn how to talk about feelings in ways that
Small Things Matter
If you are not doing anything that brings positivity to your relationship(happy relationship science), it will definitely breed disconnection. Engaging in activities that help one muster the courage to take positive activities will give a boost to your equation.
The Gottman Institute, which is an organization engaged in carrying out researches about marriage have underscored that “disengagement easily happen in any relationship when couples are not doing things that create positivity.
When that happens, people feel like they’re just moving further and further apart until they don’t even know each other anymore. ”
The Gottman Lab has been involved in taking down relationship satisfaction since 1970’s and the studies have shown that couples who remain in small, routine points of contact, have a healthy and happy shape.
This leads to building bridges during times of a busy day. For eg: You have a long day at office and chances are that by the time you reach home, your partner must have hit the sack.
So, frequent calls just to make sure that your partner had lunch or asking about the progress of work at the office, may help in bridging the gaps.
However, one of the easiest ways to find a communication link is complimenting your partner.
Carrie Cole, the director of research at Gottman says, “whether it’s expressing your appreciation for something they’ve done or telling them, specifically, what you love about them. This exercise can accomplish two beneficial things: First, it validates your partner and helps them feel good about themselves. And second, it helps to remind you that you chose that person in the first place, but why?
It may seem that relationships cannot function on such calculations, but where there are chances of irretrievable breakdown and you really wish to save your relationship, you may zero in on scientific theories (happy relationship science) and refill your life with the lost bliss.