Master vs. Disaster Relationships


A great marriage is based on a recipe for the Spirit of Generosity.

99% Kindness mixed with Active Constructive Response=Spirit of Generosity.

It’s the basic science of lasting relationships–not rocket science, but not a piece of cake either.

Making the vow, “Until death do us part” is easy when you’re young, healthy and the blush of new love is beautiful and full of promise. But, when the strain of daily life begins to erode the perimeter, then what? Could-a-Would-a-Should-a isn’t enough. More like ‘must-a’ if you want to avoid ‘disast-a’ and ‘mast-a’ the art of keeping love alive.

Active Listening=Active Constructive Response

According to the article Lasting Relationships Rely on 2 Traits, “The hardest time to practice kindness is, of course, during a fight—but this is also the most important time to be kind. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship.”

I found this part of the article the most valuable.

“Let’s say that one partner had recently received the excellent news that she got into medical school. She would say something like “I got into my top choice med school!”

Passive destructive response

If her partner responded in a passive destructive manner, he would ignore the event. For example, he might say something like: “You wouldn’t believe the great news I got yesterday! I won a free t-shirt!”

Passive constructive response

If her partner responded in a passive constructive way, he would acknowledge the good news, but in a half-hearted, understated way. A typical passive constructive response is saying “That’s great, babe” as he texts his buddy on his phone.

Active destructive response

In the third kind of response, active destructive, the partner would diminish the good news his partner just got: “Are you sure you can handle all the studying? And what about the cost? Med school is so expensive!”

Active Constructive Response

Finally, there’s active constructive responding. If her partner responded in this way, he stopped what he was doing and engaged wholeheartedly with her: “That’s great! Congratulations! When did you find out? Did they call you? What classes will you take first semester?”

Among the four response styles, active constructive responding is the kindest. While the other response styles are joy-killers, active constructive responding allows the partner to savor her joy and gives the couple an opportunity to bond over the good news. In the parlance of the Gottmans, active constructive responding is a way of “turning toward” your partners bid (sharing the good news) rather than “turning away” from it.

Active constructive responding is critical for healthy relationships. In the 2006 study, Gable and her colleagues followed up with the couples two months later to see if they were still together. The psychologists found that the only difference between the couples who were together and those who broke up was active constructive responding. Those who showed genuine interest in their partner’s joys were more likely to be together. In an earlier study, Gable found that active constructive responding was also associated with higher relationship quality and more intimacy between partners.”

When words fail, actions speaks louder

Playing Hide A Heart together is an action of remarkable response. My husband and I played, laughed, fought, and sometimes missed the boat on our response methods, but we never gave up on one another because we knew we loved each other. To be absolutely honest, my husband was a ‘master’ and I walked a tenuous line between master and disaster, making our marriage of 41 years an up, down merry-go-round.


Happy Anniversary, my prince.

3 thoughts on “Master vs. Disaster Relationships

  1. If he were here with us reading this amazing post he would say in the end long after your personal grief has passed you two will still be together and that is all that matters to him. Knowing you two guys, and how you shared, he probably did say that while he was alive …but that is the point you are making!

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