Expressing appreciation with the Gottman Card Decks app

This week, your mission if you choose to accept it is to use the Gottman Card Decks app to express appreciation for one another.  

Instructions: "Build fondness and admiration by using these simple phrases as examples of things to thank your partner for. Or just scroll through and show your partner the screen if it's hard for you to express yourself out loud!" 

Gentle start-up: a key to expressing needs respectfully

According to the Gottmans' research, the way a conversation starts is likely the way that it will end.  So if we start with criticism or contempt, we are likely to end with defensiveness or stonewalling.  But if we start gently, we are more likely to have a productive conversation.  Some keys to a gentle start-up include:  expressing appreciation; making statements that start with "I", such as "I'm upset" or "I'm angry"; describing the facts of the situation; and clearly describing what we need.  Check out this video from Julie Gottman to hear more.  

Appreciation: a key to being heard

According to Dr. Gottman’s research, the masters of relationship had 20 times more positive interactions than negative interactions during everyday interactions, and five times more positive than negative interactions during times of conflict.  Our ratio of positive to negative interactions is strong when our relationships are full of fondness, affection, gratitude and humor.  When we create rituals that build gratitude and affection for one another, we are putting our relationship in what Dr. Gottman calls “the positive perspective”. When our relationships are in the positive perspective, we are more able to hear our partner’s needs. 

When expressing our needs, it can be helpful to include what we appreciate and what we admire about the other person. When we express that, we can help our partner be able to hear us.  

When we are deeply entrenched in the negative perspective, or when our needs have been building up, it can be hard to stop and express appreciation. In his book Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs describes this pattern as “the crazy cycle.” He says that when a man feels disrespected, he responds without love. When a woman feels unloved, she responds without respect.  He says that the one who considers him/herself more mature should be the one who takes the first step towards expressing love and respect.