The Sound Relationship House Theory is a metaphor, developed by John and Julie Gottman, to explain what it takes to build a strong relationship. Like building a house, relationships need a firm foundation. The foundation for strong relationships is to build Love Maps of one another’s world;to learn what is important to one another.
Couples need to share Fondness and Admiration with one another; to tell each other what they want, like and appreciate. Everyone wants to believe that their partner cares about them and that they are more important than anything else in the world. We believe that we are important to our partners when they notice that we need them; when they are willing to stop the world to pay attention to us when we need it.
We demonstrate that we are “there for each other” by Turning Toward one another; by paying attention on purpose to our partners. When we hurt, they are there. If all three of these levels are working well then a Positive Perspective results; the relationship feels like a safe place to be. We tend to believe that our partners mean well, even when they let us down or hurt us.
Conflict is inevitable and useful; it needs to be constructive; therefore, couples need to learn to Manage Conflict when it occurs. We need to learn how to say what we need to say in a way that it can be heard. We need to be able to listen to our partners and to communicate that we have heard them.
We need to be curious about our partner’s dreams, hopes and aspirations so that we can Make Life Dreams Come True. We need to “write the story of us”, to Create Shared Meaning that will enhance life now, and give us fond memories in the future. Commitment and Trust are the framing that holds our Sound Relationship House together. If all of the levels are working as they need to be working, then we get the smoke coming from our chimney, the passion that results from working together and loving one another well.