10 principles of strong relationships from a doctor of psychology
The main thing in your relationship is not you. It’s not about your partner. What matters is the relationship itself.
Stan Tatkin, doctor of psychology, combined neuroscience, attachment theory and the biology of human arousal and derived 10 principles to build strong relationships. They’re in the book “Created for Love.”
Of course, every couple is unique. Love can not be brought to automaticity. But acting blindly and expecting everything to work itself out is definitely a bad strategy. Let’s change it.
In the first place, we are.
Made for love
“You have to love yourself before someone can love you.” Have you heard that one? Forget it: that’s not how it works. We learn to love ourselves precisely because we feel someone else’s love. We learn to take care of ourselves because someone took care of us. Our self-esteem develops because of someone else.
That’s why it’s important to create a couple’s space-a kind of bubble in which both you and your partner feel supported. Such a “bubble” occurs when you agree to consider the relationship more important than anything else. You take care of your partner first, and he does the same for you.
The couple’s space is the only thing you can lean on to keep the relationship going for a long time.
There are ebbs and flows in intimacy-it’s normal. Pay attention to the periods when the tide gets serious. What’s going on? How do you and your partner feel? What words do you say to each other? For example, you may notice that you go into another room. Or you start screaming.
Make a list of the signs you notice. Discuss what you can do differently to make the tide come in sooner?
The couple’s space belongs to both of them, so put it in order every day.
How to fight properly
A happy couple is not one that doesn’t fight, but one that fights right. “I have found that many partners who do not know how to quarrel properly have not learned how to engage in mock scuffles as children,” Tatkin writes.
Arrange one for the two of you. Find a safe place – a bed or a soft rug. And have fun: push each other, pull each other, roll around, curl up in a ball. Such fiddling teaches you to affect your partner without causing pain, to play without losers.
That’s how we change the base settings of the hostility-oriented brain. And we get closer.
What makes this book special is that it’s very simple and practical. Scientific, but not abstruse.
Inside is an “instruction manual” to help you figure out yourself, your partner, and your relationship.
Here’s what else you’ll learn:
“Cro-Magnons” and “diplomats” in your head: how to tune your brain for love
The sluggish vagus: what is it and why?
How to become experts on each other
Fighting wisely: why it’s okay to haggle
How partners can help each other get rid of stress
Naikan, the Japanese practice of self-contemplation
The ritual of reunion: what to do to keep love alive
Fairy tales always say that if the king and queen live happily ever after, all is well in their land. The same principle applies to your home. If you are confident in each other, children, relatives, guests and even pets tune in to you. As a couple you have a special power. Take advantage of it.