It’s about time…
Married couples have benefited from the research and wisdom of John and Julie Gottman for decades. But until recently, the Gottmans haven’t had much to offer single people.
That’s all changing, thanks to marriage and family therapist Stacy Hubbard. Her workshop teaches singles how to apply the Gottman principles to dating. The goal? To create more healthy relationships in the world.
Stacy is a certified Gottman therapist, as well as a master trainer with the Gottman Institute, who works out of her private practice in Ashland, Oregon.
In this week’s YBTV interview, you’ll find out why what you say on a first date may be less important than how you smell.
You’ll learn about the three stages of relationships and what questions you should be asking before you commit. Finally, you’ll discover why seeing eye-to-eye on everything is actually less important than having “relationship aptitude.”
What You’ll Learn
If you don’t know who the Gottmans are, let’s just say they’re legends in the field of marital therapy.
Dr. John Gottman has been studying what makes marriages succeed or fail since the 1970s. His big breakthrough was in the area of divorce prediction. Simply by observing couples in the lab, he could predict which couples would go on to divorce with 94% accuracy.
If you can spot which couples are at risk of divorce before they get to that point, then you can teach them how to turn their marriages around.
That’s why Gottman therapy is so powerful. Gottman therapists help couples stop the negative behaviors that put them at risk of divorce and adopt the behaviors that successful couples use to stay connected.
But what if you could stop divorce even sooner?
What if you could train singles to spot healthy partners and create healthy relationships before they say, “I do”?
That’s been Stacy Hubbard’s mission over the past three years.
She’s been working with the Gottman Institute to develop a 1-day interactive workshop for single people to help them learn how to find and create happy, lasting relationships.
All of the Gottmans’ research thus far has been focused on committed couples. But if you want a world where more people stay married and fewer divorce, then really you should go back before the wedding day…
To the moment when two single people meet each other and either embark on a relationship or keep searching.
“We know what successful couples in long-term relationships do,” Stacy explains, “so we want to teach that to single people so that they can become healthy partners and look for healthy habits.”
Stacy has a personal stake in this topic. “I’m single, so that’s another piece of why this is so important to me. I’ve been searching and dealing with all those struggles of dating, online dating, first dates, and disappointment.”
Until recently, the workshop has been a live experience in Seattle. There’s a lot of value in “being in the same room with a bunch of other people who are in your same situation.” Last January they live-streamed the workshop for the first time, and 200 people from around the world attended.
The workshop is now moving towards an online format, so people can complete it at their own pace. There are even plans to turn it into an app.
So what kinds of things can singles learn from the Gottmans?
The three stages of relationships are a good place to start.
Stage #1. The Honeymoon Phase
This is “that first phase of relationship where you meet somebody. There’s connection and attraction and chemistry, and you can’t think about anything else.”
That feeling of infatuation is a good sign. “If you don’t have that chemistry and there’s not that interest, it can’t be manufactured.”
Researchers are discovering that the feeling of chemistry literally comes down to chemistry. Pheromones in your natural body odor spark a feeling of sexual attraction. Which is why you should always meet a potential love interest in person as soon as possible, rather than spending too much time chatting online.
You could have all the same interests and have all these really great conversations with somebody over text or email or a phone, but until you sit down face-to-face, you don’t really know if it is going to click.”
Stage #2: Trust-building
From the euphoria of the honeymoon phase, couples move into the second phase of relationship: trust-building.
“What you’re trying to do in the trust-building phase is figure out, ‘Are you going to be there for me? Can I count on you? Are you going to have my back when I need you to be there for me? Do I matter to you?'”
People often miss red flags in the honeymoon phase, because they’re clouded in an “oxytocin haze.” Being with the other person feels so good that they miss signs that their new partner isn’t a good long-term bet.
A great resource for this phase is Dr. John Gottman’s book What Makes Love Last, in which he offers five ways that you can tell that somebody’s trustworthy.
Ask yourself questions like, “Is this person really transparent? Are they showing up for me? Are they doing what they say? Are they following through? Are they inviting me to meet their friends? Do my friends like them? Are they really following through on their commitments?”
You also want to pick a partner with relationship aptitude, who’s capable of secure attachments. “That’s more important than finding somebody who matches perfectly with you [or] who sees eye-to-eye with you,” Stacy says.
Stage #3. Commitment
The third phase of relationship is commitment.
This is where you jump into the relationship with both feet, saying, “This is my person. I’m choosing them.”
Stacy distinguishes between “true commitment versus conditional commitment, which is thinking, ‘Well, I’m just here until somebody better comes along.'”
You can also contact Stacy via her website to find out more about the ideas discussed her or learn about the latest development on her workshop for singles.
Jump to Topics of Interest
2:15 Who are the Gottmans?
5:24 A new Gottman-based workshop for singles
7:55 A blend of in-person and online content
11:17 Can special texts or phrases create chemistry?
13:47 Meet your online match sooner rather than later
15:21 The second phase of relationship: trust-building
16:13 The third phase of relationship: commitment
16:44 Choosing trustworthy people
18:29 Choosing safe people
20:27 Learn more about the Gottman Institute
Stacy Hubbard is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified Gottman therapist and master trainer with the Gottman Institute. In collaboration with the Gottman Institute, she has created a one-day interactive workshop for single people to help reach more widely with the Gottman Method and create more healthy relationships in the world. She has a private practice in Ashland, Oregon. Find out how you can work with Stacy.