Sometimes it’s helpful to consider marriage like a home improvement show on HGTV. Over time, a marriage may need a fresh coat of paint and some new pillows, other times there is a lot more happening that needs more significant attention. When your relationship is struggling, you may simply need to focus on repair, but when the relational house is unstable more severe intervention is needed.
Dr. John Gottman has spent his entire career trying to answer one question: What makes relationships work? There, are of course, hundreds of theories spanning hundreds of years that attempt to answer this question. Dr. Gottman’s is unique in that is entirely evidence based. Gottman and his team observed thousands of couples over nearly 30 years and ultimately captured their findings in a metaphor called the Sound Relationship House.
The Sound Relationship House is based on three main categories:
1) The Relational Friendship
2) Conflict Management Skills
3) Creating Shared Meaning & Making Life Dreams Come True
Statistically, couples who demonstrate mastery in these areas are more likely to have happier more fulfilling relationships. SRH model represents a couple’s ability to strengthen their present (via friendship), redeem their past (via conflict management) and invest in their future (via creativity and dreaming).
Consider a redesign, renovation or remodel:
Redesign: Sometimes you need to switch things up. If your friendship is struggling under the monotony of routine or the chaos of a busy life, consider adopting moving the furniture around by planning a game night, or learning a new skill together, or simply setting your watch to remind you to compliment your partner each day.
Renovate: Other times its a pattern of conflict that may require a more significant change in your style of relating. When unresolved issues from the past keep you from relating authentically in the present, you may need to (carefully) tear out the unhealthy patterns and replace them with new skills.
Remodel: A true remodel is an investment in a new kind of future. This requires vision and perseverance. And it will likely cost more than you think. Remodeling your relationship means dreaming creatively and courageously about the new ways you will relate to yourself, others, and to God.