A Surplus of Positivity equals Getting More / Marriage begets Consumers / FREE Webinar - 10/26/11

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Wed Oct 26 23:22:30 EDT 2011

- If you want more sex, be nice!
- Marriage Matters: Secrets of a strong economy
- If you want more sex, be nice!
October 20th, 2011 
The Chart 
Ian Kerner,  a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author,
blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his
website, GoodInBed.

Earlier this year, eminent marriage therapist John Gottman released a new
book titled The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples. While
you may not recognize Gottman by name, you may be aware of his work via
Malcolm Gladwell¹s book Blink.

In that bestseller, readers were introduced to Gottman¹s knack for
thin-slicing a couple based upon a few minutes of observation, and
determining, with incredible accuracy, whether they would succeed or fail in
their marriage. 

So what¹s the secret of relationship success? Based upon his work with
couples, as well as statistical analysis, Gottman has determined that, ³It¹s
the balance between positive and negative emotional interactions in a
marriage that determines its well-being - whether the good moments of mutual
pleasure, passion, humor, support, kindness, and generosity outweigh the bad
moments of complaining, criticism, anger, disgust, contempt, defensiveness,
and coldness.²

Those couples that succeed in their marriages enjoy an overriding proportion
of positive over negative sentiment.

But how do you ensure that? ³All couples, happy and unhappy, have conflict,²
writes Gottman, ³but the ratio of positive to negative interactions during
arguments is a critical factor.² He has proposed that this ratio should,
ideally, be 5 to 1.

While it¹s impossible to go through life tallying positive versus negative
interactions, it is possible to determine intuitively whether your
relationship is generally in the positive, or tending more toward the
negative. And then you can change it.

I often advise couples to get in the 5-to1 zone, and it¹s one of those
pieces of simple advice that I often remind myself to practice in my own
marriage. It isn¹t easy to maintain a surplus of positivity, but it is

In his latest book, Gottman encourages couples to cultivate emotional
attunement through awareness, tolerance, understanding, non-defensive
listening, and empathy.

³Boiling down the richly complex body of work described in the book to one
sentence, Gottman¹s point is that trust is made of people believing that
their partners will be nice, that the partner will make an effort to make
life better for you,² writes sex educator Emily Nagoski in her
intellectually vivacious blog, Sex Nerd .

So there you have it - it all comes down to the ³power of nice.² While many
men like to complain that nice guys often finish last, it would seem that
couples that are nice to each other tend to last the longest.

So why is it often so darn hard to be nice to our partners? Or why do we
often end up being nice to everyone except the ones we hold closest? Why is
nice so elusive?

³Maybe you plain old don¹t know how to be nice. Maybe in your family of
origin, people just weren¹t nice to each other, so you never learned that
skill. Or maybe you didn¹t learn rules of Being Nice that are compatible
with the rules your partner learned,² writes Nagoski.

³The hardest possibility is that you are your partner have been sucked into
a dynamic of retaliation - you¹re like Israel and Palestine, where neither
one can be the first NOT to retaliate.²

Gottman argues that it¹s hard to be emotionally attuned to your partner when
you¹re stressed out, which so many of us are today. Stress hijacks our
brains and makes it hard for us to feel anything other than anxious or
panicked. Stress creates a state of emotional triage, one that pushes nice
to the wayside.

I¹ve also found that many couples are used to operating in states of highs
and lows - a sort of relationship manic-depression - but are unable to carve
out a middle ground. But nice requires that in-between state. Nice takes
time, patience, and effort.

²When people are angry and hurt, they get into a different physiological
state, with heightened awareness of potential threats and diminished
capacity for empathy and creative problem solving,² says Nagoski.

³They stop seeing the positive and start attributing negative personality
traits to their partner, to explain the problems in the relationship. In
their minds, their partner develops a reputation as untrustworthy. Contempt
builds. And the whole thing spirals.²

So are you being nice enough to your partner? Are you in the 5-to1 zone? If
not, maybe it is time to start counting interactions. A little ³nice² goes a
long way.
-  Marriage Matters: Secrets of a strong economy
James and Audora Burg
Sturgis Journal 
Oct 9, 2011 

Want to fix the national, even the global, economy? Fix the family.

This is a marriage column, not an economics forum, but sometimes the two
categories overlap in surprising ways. Most recently this overlap is
highlighted because of a new report ³The Sustainable Demographic Dividend:
What Do Marriage and Fertility Have To Do With the Economy?² issued by the
National Marriage Project at University of Virginia.

Specifically, seven economic sectors ­ child care, life insurance and
personal insurance, household products and services, health care, food, home
maintenance and services, and pets and toys -- experience growth directly
linked to people getting married and having children and also suffer when
marriage and fertility rates fall.

It¹s not the change in the fertility rate alone, but how close a country¹s
rate is to the ³replacement rate² of 2.1 children per woman, the minimum
level for sustaining a population over time.

So on this basis, the report notes a number of the world¹s leading economies
either currently are or soon will be facing ³major demographic challenges,²
including Japan, Greece, Italy, and China because their fertility rates have
or soon will fall below the replacement rate.

But there¹s a bigger-picture component to the link between economies and
marriage/fertility that goes beyond individual economic sectors. According
to Brad Wilcox, the report¹s lead researcher, economies are dependent on
strong families for three key reasons: families provide a future customer
base, supply future workers with the required ³human and social capital,²
and give men ³an incentive to work harder in the labor force.²

And while that may sound like the ³man brings home the bacon² kind of sexist
comment, research over time has demonstrated that married men consistently
make more money than single men.

So according to the National Marriage Project¹s report, our apparently
flippant remark, ³fix the family,² is indeed the long-term solution to
economic health on both the national and international scales.

In ³The Empty Cradle,² an article released in conjunction with the
Sustainable Demographic Dividend report, the researchers note ³Sustainable
families don¹t just reproduce themselves; they also raise the next
generation with the requisite virtues and human capital to flourish as adult
citizens, employees, and consumers.²

The fix is obviously not as simple as having cohabiting couples get a
marriage license. As we noted a couple of years ago, other reports have
suggested that the national cost of divorce is $28 billion a year. So the
trick is in developing healthy marriages, not just marriages.
This one will definitely help you increase your NICE & help you beget more
future Consumers.  
This Sunday, Oct 30, 2pm EST
Negotiating for resentment-free behavior change in modern intimate
relationships isn't easy!
Successful negotiation has more to do with self-regulation than what you
Learn how negotiation is superior to the alternative ways of seeking
behavior change in partners.
To register:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/591273185


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