“Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.”
In our western societies we are very proud of our freedom to marry for love, not reason. However, our choice for a lifetime partner often proves to be misguided, divorce rates are staggering and many young people are unwilling to commit.
So what is the key to a long lasting and happy relationship?
According to some fascinating research conducted in “The Love Lab” by researcher John Gottmann and his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington in 1986, the two key components of a successful partnership is kindness and generosity.
Sounds so easy, right?
Well, those of us who have been married for some years know it is not as easy as it may seem. Being kind and generous to my partner is perfectly natural and obvious in the beginning of the relationship, when we both can hardly wait to see each other, to spend time together, to express our most intimate feelings towards the other. As time goes by, however, and our lives together become more of a routine and certainly more complicated by work, kids and in-laws, generosity and kindness tend to fade away, leaving room for being impatient and short with one-another, or not connecting at all.
If I want to be really honest I can recall the time in my own marriage when kindness and generosity were scarce commodities between us – and I can’t say I wasn’t guilty. I had my own reasons for not always being kind, for not being generous with my love and attention, but at the end of the day those reasons really don’t matter. What matters is to somehow be lucky enough to muster up courage and make a change. To raise above those reasons, to overcome the terrifying experience of being vulnerable and reach out to the other person. That is where generosity can play a huge role and kindness can heal so many wounds.
In this article you can read about the research and it’s findings in more detail. I encourage you to read it and make a decision. Wether you are in a relationship or hoping to find one soon, make a conscious decision to always weave the thread of kindness and generosity through everything you engage in, with special regards to your relationship with your partner. After all, now that science has proven the tried and true recipe for a long lasting and happy relationship, it really isn’t so hard as it seems…