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Wish you could look into a crystal ball and see if your relationship was destined to succeed or fail? Researchers think they have found the answer that separates relationship masters from relationship disasters. From here:

…Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples … will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later. Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there.

In real life I would say I have seen this to be the case. Those I know in troubled, angsty relationships are always on the lookout for their partner to do them wrong or fall short, while the couples who seem most content are those who have a positive view.

The good news is both approaches are a choice, a mindset. If you aren’t already, start giving your partner the benefit of the doubt and look for the good in them rather than the bad, assume the best instead of the worst. Not only will they likely start feeling a lot better about the relationship (and you!), chances are you’ll start feeling so as well.

It’s easy to find fault, to focus on the negative. In fact, the human mind seems geared to see what’s missing more prominantly than what’s not. And while it likely serves us well in some ways, it can also create much unhappiness because let’s face it — there will always be something going wrong, even when 99.9% is going right! And really, how often in life is even 51% or more going wrong? In mine the answer has been rarely, or actually never, even if I have not always acted (or felt) like it. Even on the very worst days (not that I am daring the universe here…)

What do you think? Have you seen this master or disaster approach to relationships in real life? Is seeing the glass half full the secret to a long and happy relationship? Please share in the comments.