Lasting love feels so elusive.
You do all this work to find the person you want to be with.
And just as you think you finally have your happy-ever-after…
It all starts going wrong.
You irritate each other. You disagree.
You spend less time together. You never go out anymore.
How can you get the magic back?
You use the magic 6-hour formula.
In this week’s YBTV interview, we ask Gottman-trained relationship coach Kyle Benson what it takes to achieve lasting love.
You’ll learn the 4 habits that distinguish the “disasters” from the “masters.”
You find out how spending just 6 hours a week on your relationship can turn it around and set a foundation for a lifetime of love.
Plus, if conflict is an issue in your relationship, don’t miss your opportunity to get Kyle’s free ebook on how to use your conflict to achieve deeper connection!
What You’ll Learn
Kyle Benson was not a master of relationships.
Not at first.
His own relationships were not going well. After being cheated on—again—he developed psoriasis, an autoimmune disease. His health was tanking.
“It really forced me to reflect, ‘How did I get here?’” he says.
“It sent me on this journey of research and trying to figure out how to make my love life better,” he says, “and I ended up teaching other people how to do the same.”
Today, Kevin not only coaches couples but also manages the Love Lab at the Gottman Institute.
He oversees research projects and manages a staff coding team, where he’s been trained in how to read and code facial expressions to determine how strong a couple is.
One of the things he looks for is the Four Horsemen.
The Four Horsemen
“In [Dr. John Gottman’s] research, he discovered that there are four things that can influence a relationship to become unstable or unhappy,” Kyle explains.
The Four Horsemen are:
Disaster couples, as opposed to master couples, are much more critical of each other. Criticism goes beyond a complaint about a particular behavior. It’s an attack on the other person’s character.
Disasters get defensive. They dismiss complaints with, “Oh, I’m not that bad,” or counterattack with, “You’re the bad person here.”
Disasters look down on their partner. They say things like, “Why are you always so lazy? Why are you always so late? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know better?”
Finally, disasters engage in stonewalling. They put up a wall between them and their partner, so they’re unreachable.
“We code those behaviors moment to moment while a couple is having a conversation,” Kyle says, “and we accumulate all this data. It gives us a trajectory of how positive and negative the conversation was and how well they’re doing as a couple.”
It’s not that masters never stoop to criticism or contempt. It’s that these behaviors don’t become a habit.
What masters “do differently is they’ll repair. They’ll apologize. They’ll take ownership. And they will use that negative incident to construct a stronger relationship.”
Masters keep difficult discussions from spiraling down into negativity by noticing when the conversation is becoming unproductive and doing something to get back on a positive track or lighten the mood.
These repair attempts can be anything from an apology to, “I need us to take a break,” “I didn’t mean what I said,” or even,” That was really hard for me to hear. Can you just rephrase that, because I really want to understand what’s so important about this?”
The Magic 6-Hour Formula to Lasting Love
But that’s just the beginning.
Masters don’t just deal with conflict better.
They also invest more in strengthening their connection.
John and Julie Gottman found that 6 strategic behaviors, practiced weekly, kept relationships strong and healthy.
These behaviors are:
- Checking in with each other before leaving in the morning. Ask your partner what their day has in store for them before you both leave for work. Find out how they’re feeling about their day ahead.
(2 minutes a day x 5 days a week = 10 minutes)
- Have a “welcome home ritual” when you come home. As soon as you walk through that door, greet your partner with a warm hug and a kiss. Have a stress-reducing conversation, where you take turns listening to each other talk about your day without interrupting or trying to problem-solve.
(20 minutes a day x 5 days a week = 1 hour and 40 minutes)
- Appreciate each other. Notice something good your partner is doing and thank them for it. “One of the things that the masters do really well is they look for what their partner is doing right,” Kyle says. Tie that behavior into something you love and cherish about each other.
(5 minutes a day x 7 days a week = 35 minutes)
- Physical affection. Take time to hug and cuddle your partner. “Physical connection helps our nervous systems calm down, and it helps us feel more connected, too,” Kyle says.
(5 minutes a day x 7 days a week = 35 minutes)
- Date night. Each week, make time for a date night. This is where you’re “intentionally going once a week. You’re spending two hours at least just connecting one-on-one.”
(2 hours once a week)
- State of the union meeting. This is a structured weekly meeting where you talk about what’s going well and what’s bothering you about your relationship. You always end your meeting with the question, “What’s one thing I can do this week that would make you feel more loved?”
(1 hour once a week)
Want a visual breakdown of these 6 hours? Get it over at Kyle’s website.
Glorifying the Struggle
“The masters of marriage, of relationship, go through tough times, too,” Kyle says. “All couples do.
“One of the things that’s different about their attitudes is they have this attitude of working together and, ‘We’ve got to figure it out.'”
It’s not about you and me. It’s about us and we.
Want more of Kyle’s advice?
Kyle is offering a free e-book on how to use conflict to bring you closer together, called From Conflict to Connection. Get it here.
Jump to Topics of Interest
2:00 How Kyle became a relationship coach
5:17 The inspiration behind the Love Lab
6:05 “Disaster couples” and the Four Horsemen
8:22 What masters do differently
9:35 Repair attempts
11:28 The Magic 6-Hour Formula
20:45 We’re in it together
Kyle Benson is a nationally recognized couple’s mindset coach providing practical, research based tools to build long-lasting relationships. Kyle is best known for his compassion and nonjudgmental style and his capacity to seeing the root problem. Find out how you can work with Kyle.