The Secret to Making your Next Marriage Last
As a family mediator, I specialize in divorce. That doesn’t make me an expert on marriage, but I’ve gained some valuable insights over the years.
Paradoxical though it seems, I believe that one key to achieving a good divorce is also the secret to a happy marriage. Couples that succeed in “conscious uncoupling” tend to maintain a flush bank account – not with deposits of money, but with deposits of good will. The secret is to maintain a robust balance of good will (positive interactions) to withstand the inevitable withdrawals (negative interactions). This concept was coined the “emotional bank account” by Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And according to acclaimed relationship expert, John Gottman, it takes at least five times more deposits than withdrawals to maintain a happy, stable marriage.
In the divorce mediation process, I’ve observed that when separating couples make intentional, recurring deposits of good will in each other’s accounts, they tend to reap profitable, long-lasting returns: The divorce is quicker, costs less, and results in more satisfying long-term relationships for both former spouses and their children. And best of all — having experienced the benefits of an ample emotional bank account in divorce, the newly single can have confidence in a proven strategy for making future relationships successful too.
Drawing on Gottman’s “love lab” research, this article published in The Art of Manliness beautifully fleshes out the secret to successful marriage – regardless of whether it’s your first or last: Why the Secret to a Happy, Successful Marriage is Treating it Like a Bank Account