In this podcast episode, Jay Shetty welcomes Dr. Julie and John Gottman as guests.
The Gottmans are renowned marriage researchers and educators known for their expertise in marital stability. They discuss their new book, Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy: The Love Prescription.
Essential Qualities in Dating
Dr. Julie Gottman emphasizes the significance of kindness, not only directed towards the person you’re dating but also towards others involved in your interactions, such as waitstaff or service providers. Treating everyone with care and respect, irrespective of their position, speaks volumes about a person’s character.
Another pivotal quality highlighted by Dr. Julie Gottman is reliability. She stresses the importance of a partner who follows through on their commitments and shows up when they say they will. She also tells Jay Shetty that excuses and constant lateness can be red flags that hint at a lack of consideration and integrity..
John Gottman noted that it’s essential for a partner to embrace and accept your true self. He shares with Jay Shetty a personal anecdote about his son-in-law, who encouraged his daughter to be completely authentic. Being oneself without fear of judgment or suppression is crucial to a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Recognizing Toxic Behavior in Relationships
Jay Shetty and his guests explore why people often find themselves in relationships where they feel controlled or manipulated. Some individuals take so long to recognize these dynamics and tolerate such behavior. Moreover, we often hesitate to address these concerns with our friends and family, even when we can see what’s happening.
Dr. Julie Gottman acknowledges that nobody grows up without carrying some emotional baggage, which can leave us feeling insecure about certain qualities we possess. When we start dating someone, we try to present the best version of ourselves. However, as the relationship progresses, we may question who the other person wants us to be in an attempt to mold ourselves accordingly.
Driven by past experiences and seeking approval, we may suppress parts of our authentic selves to fit someone else’s expectations. This pattern can be traced back to childhood when we learned to conform to gain approval from parents or caregivers.
Dr. Julie Gottman further explains to Jay Shetty that the American culture fosters a critical environment where people are constantly judged and evaluated based on others’ standards. Individual passions may not be honored in school and work settings, and people are often measured solely by how well they conform to established norms. These external influences create distorted mirrors of who they are, obscuring their perception of our strengths and beauty.
The process of personal growth involves creating a mirror that recognizes our flaws and strengths without the distortions imposed by others. It requires embracing and valuing ourselves as unique individuals with unique qualities.
Therefore, Dr. Julie Gottman encourages listeners to overcome societal pressures and reclaim their authentic selves, acknowledging their strengths and challenges while developing a healthy self-image that isn’t shaped solely by external expectations.
Plenty of Fish in the Sea?
Jay Shetty discusses the challenges of modern dating, specifically the paradox of choice and the shift in how people meet and connect with potential partners.
John Gottman highlights that listing desired qualities only sometimes translates into genuine attraction. Instead, he emphasizes the importance of finding someone trustworthy and capable of considering both partners’ benefits, creating a sense of safety and acceptance.
Additionally, Dr. Julie Gottman addresses the limitations of online dating platforms, where people often present themselves in a limited, one-dimensional way. She suggests meeting potential partners in person to gauge how they make one feel and observing their behavior during conversations. Paying attention to their level of engagement, active listening, and genuine interest in getting to know one another are crucial indicators. Appropriate self-disclosure is vital for gradually understanding each other on a deeper level.
The Gottmans stress the need to move beyond the confines of online interactions and prioritize face-to-face meetings to gauge compatibility and connection truly. Building an authentic understanding of each other’s personalities, responses, and feelings is best achieved through direct interaction.
Jay Shetty reflects on the importance of trust and feeling safe in a relationship as immediate indicators of building trust. He acknowledges that trust takes time to develop and mentions the challenge of long-term relationships where one suddenly declares they no longer love their partner. By focusing on feeling safe with someone, individuals can assess their emotional and physical security in the present moment.
Jay Shetty also appreciates meeting potential partners as quickly as possible to make better dating decisions. He highlights that no perfect formula or checklist exists for finding the ideal partner. It is liberating to understand that relationships involve contradictions and imperfect alignments.
Jay Shetty addressed the longevity of relationships and the notion that time alone determines success. He believes there is always something new to learn about a long-term partner and that asking big questions can foster intimacy.
Dr. Julie Gottman explains that essential questions require detailed, thoughtful responses and go beyond simple yes or no answers. These questions allow individuals to explore deeper topics and understand how their partner’s thoughts and perspectives have evolved. People are not static but constantly evolving, and asking big questions helps maintain a connection with the changing nature of oneself and their partner.
Jay Shetty emphasizes the significance of feeling safe and its immediate benefits to trust-building. He encourages meeting potential partners in person to make better dating choices.
Evolving in a Relationship
Jay Shetty raises the concern of how relationships can become challenging when one person changes in a way that the other dislikes or resonates with. He mentions that fear of someone changing in an undesirable way often prevents individuals from asking questions about their partner’s evolving interests or passions.
Dr. Julie shares a personal example of her husband’s newfound passion for bread baking, which involves consuming carbs, something she tries to avoid. However, instead of rejecting or criticizing his interest, she understands his passion by asking him what he loves about bread baking and what it fulfills in him.
Dr. Julie emphasizes the importance of love and acceptance, even when faced with aspects of a partner that may challenge one’s preferences. She expresses her desire to know and understand this new aspect of her husband. She recognizes that love means accepting everything about a partner, even the challenging things.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Jay Shetty describes himself as someone sure about his passions and purpose. At the same time, his wife is more open to exploration and discovery. Jay highlights the need for both partners to be adaptable and flexible, understanding that it’s not just one person adjusting to the other but a mutual process. This requires maturity, open-mindedness, and the ability to balance certainty and discovery.
Therefore, Jay Shetty raises the challenge of building flexibility and adaptability, as many people today have clear life plans and expectations. He acknowledges that it can be difficult and painful when partners diverge from their intended paths.
Dr. Julie Gottman emphasized the importance of considering what will benefit the partner and stretching beyond one’s ego and rigid ways. She shares an example of a couple where one person embarked on a spiritual journey, causing tension as their beliefs diverged. Open communication, understanding, and accepting each other’s paths are crucial. She suggests that even with different views, the partners can still support and embrace each other, allowing love to grow and staying connected.
It is essential to recognize that each person’s journey is unique and should not be imposed upon their partner. John Gottman refers to a study by Robinson and Price, revealing that individuals in unhappy relationships miss 50% of the positive things their partner does.1 This finding underscores the necessity of shifting focus towards acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of a relationship.
Moreover, John Gottman emphasizes the detrimental effects of a negative mindset on one’s well-being, leading to increased irritability, vindictiveness, and decreased cooperation. He cites an Israeli study indicating that responding to negative situations with anger or hostility can shorten one’s lifespan.2
The Power of Gratitude
Showing gratitude and shifting from a negative to a positive mindset requires personal change and self-reflection. John Gottman advises individuals to focus on themselves and their transformation rather than solely considering how their partner responds.
Jay Shetty highlights the importance of expressing thanks in a way that acknowledges an action’s specific impact and significance. This helps partners remember the kindness and encourages them to repeat such acts and understand their meaning. It is vital to shift from a negative mindset to a focus on the positive aspects of a relationship.
Dr. Julie Gottman shares research that shows how people tend to dwell on negative thoughts about their partners while neglecting the positive thoughts.3 The research mentions the significance of recognizing and appreciating the positive qualities and actions of one’s partner to nurture a healthy relationship.
Will You Last Together?
John Gottman emphasizes the importance of commitment, explaining that cherishing and magnifying the positive aspects of a relationship plays a crucial role. He warns against constantly comparing and seeking alternatives, as it undermines commitment.
Dr. Julie Gottman adds that consistency in empathy and support and the ability to trust and be vulnerable with each other are indicators of a strong commitment. It is significant to identify how a partner makes one feel about themselves. Feeling valued, cherished, and accepted even during challenging times contributes to a healthy relationship.
A successful relationship involves putting all one’s trust and investment in that partnership, which requires vulnerability and commitment. John Gottman told Jay Shetty that when both partners wholeheartedly commit to each other, believing they are their treasure, the relationship will likely endure and thrive. This deep level of trust and investment demonstrates that they have chosen to prioritize and dedicate themselves to their partner for the long term.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “2 Ways to Deepen Your Connection With Your Partner & The Key to Strong and Lasting Relationships” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
1Beaty, Jon. “2 Biases That May Be Hurting Your Relationship.” Web log. The Gottman Institute (blog), February 10, 2021. https://www.gottman.com/blog/2-biases-may-hurting-relationship/.
2Koton, S., D. Tanne, N. M. Bornstein, and M. S. Green. ‘Triggering Risk Factors for Ischemic Stroke’. Neurology 63, no. 11 (2004): 2006–10. https://doi.org/10.1212/01.WNL.0000145842.25520.A2.
3Rajendrakumar, Jinashree. “Blame, Resentment, and Negative Sentiment Override.” Web log. The Gottman Institute (blog), January 6, 2022. https://www.gottman.com/blog/blame-resentment-and-negative-sentiment-override/.