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Show 1103: What Is the Science of Lasting Relationships?

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Lasting relationships are built on kindness and generosity, in which each partner can feel empathy for the other and confident they too are heard.
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Why do some relationships last for decades and just seem to get stronger, while others wither? Is there a secret to lasting relationships?

Kindness, Generosity and Science:

Decades ago, psychologist John Gottman began studying how newlyweds interacted with each other. He and his colleagues created a “Love Lab” in which they took careful notes and collected physiological data on each pair as they answered questions about meeting, conflicts and future plans. After six years, the psychologists determined which of the couples were still happy together and which had separated or were miserable. Based on these data, they determined that a couple of key concepts underlay the happiness of lasting relationships: kindness and generosity.

Kindness as the Food of Marriage:

That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Further research by Dr. Gottman confirmed that these two simple concepts really are fundamental. Like most simple things, though, they aren’t always easy to execute. Psychologist Don Azevedo joins us to discuss why kindness and generosity are the keys to life-long happiness and how we can practice them within our own relationships both at home and at work.

Make Yourself the Hero of Your Own Story:

Learn why the first step is to acknowledge and honor your own self, so that you have the confidence to reflect your partner’s reaction with empathy. We also consider the importance of setting limits to establish a reciprocal rather than one-sided relationship.

You can read more about Dr. Gottman’s research in this article from The Atlantic, June 12, 2014

This Week’s Guest:

Don Azevedo, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and founder of Azevedo Family Psychology in Cary, NC.

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