Is Your House in Order? The Essential Building Blocks to a Lasting and Connected Relationship

House with hearts coming out of chiminey illustration clip art source

What are the foundation pieces for a lasting and connected relationship? Do you want your relationship to be a long-term one  that is filled with love and true connection?  Drs John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute have developed the Sound Relationship House after 30 years of research. There is much to learn from their well-built house with its layers of what is needed to have a long-term, successful relationship with high couple satisfaction.

Here are the key components of “The Sound Relationship House”.

The Friendship Quadrant (the first three stories of your sound relationship house)

  1. Love Maps – This involves knowing each other’s inner world, including both what is distressing and what brings happiness.
  2. Fondness and Admiration – Affection, appreciation and respect are shown.
  3. Turning Toward – Choosing to turn toward opposed to away or against when there is bid for positive interaction

The Positive Perspective 

This is what you feel about your relationship. The first three levels – Love Maps, Fondness & Admiration, and Turning Towards are the foundation for your perspective. Positive affect in conflict management and relationship repair that is successful also affects your perspective.

Manage Gonflict

The Gottman’s feel that the goal for conflict is “management” opposed to “eliminating” it. There will always be conflict / differences of opinion. And that is not a bad thing. It gives us an opportunity to know our partner at a deeper level and to love them in the way they need to be loved. The Gottman research indicates that 69% of problems that are continuing are not resolvable. Thus, management opposed to elimination. Regardless of who you choose for a partner there would be a set of perpetual, non resolvable problems. Understanding and dialogue and some potential shifts may occur.

  • Management of Perpetual Problems – Shifting from Gridlock to Discussion and Understanding with Acceptance
  • Management of Solvable Problems – The steps involved for these resolvable issues are: Softened Start Up, Repair and De-Escalation, Accepting Influence, Compromise, and Acceptance of What Cannot Be Changed

Making Life Dreams Come True

Creating an environment where you encourage each other and support each another’s dreams and deeply held convictions is important in a successful relationship.

Creating Shared Meaning

We have now entered the attic of the Sound Relationship House. Here you will find buried treasures for your relationship. When you create shared meaning this deepens and helps to bond your relationship. Part of this can be done by creating meaningful and pleasurable rituals that have meaning for you as a couple.

Trust and Commitment 

The two supporting walls of your home in the Sound Relationship House will be “TRUST” and “COMMITMENT”.  When your actions show you can be trusted and you have a long-term commitment to your relationship this will provide the stability that your relationship needs.


Gottman Sound Relationship House with copyright at the bottom



Source: Clinical Training Manuel for Gottman Institutes Level 2, Gottman Method Couples Training.

I had the opportunity to attend the Gottman’s Institutes Level 2 Clinical Training – Gottman Method Couples Training this last week in Dallas. The Gottman’s Sound Relationship House was presented as a way to see the total picture of what is needed for a happy, healthy relationship. You can find more information by going to the Gottman Institute’s website:

Gottman Level Two Class Photo - Dallas LV2 (3) August 2015 with Don


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