As a wedding officiant, I want to launch couples into married life with a beautiful, meaningful and joyful wedding ceremony. I see couples so in love on their wedding day, and I want the love to last!
After twenty-six years with my husband, I know that it can sometimes be a challenge to keep love alive through the inevitable challenges that life presents to all of us. I’ve asked myself many times “what makes love last?”
It turns out that researchers John and Julia Gottman, founders of the University of Washington’s “Love Lab”, have been asking the same question for years. After studying thousands of couples they discovered the secret to lasting love. With stunning accuracy (94%) they are able to predict if a couple – gay or straight, rich or poor, with children or not – will stay together.
Listen up! Here’s what they found.
KINDNESS is the most important predictor of marital stability. If partners respond to each other with kindness in the small, and sometimes seemingly incidental or even mundane, moments of their relationship there’s a much better chance that love will last. As the saying goes, “the little things mean a lot.”
When people think of kindness, they often confuse it with generosity. But, you don’t need to bring home chocolate and roses, or take your partner to a fancy restaurant or on an expensive vacation. Of course, generosity is a positive thing. Kindness however is different. Is more akin to being supportive and interested in what’s going on in your partner’s life.
And here’s another thing the researchers discovered. Kindness is not a fixed trait. Kindness is more like a muscle. It can grow and get stronger with practice. Like exercise, it can often be hard work. But, also like exercise, the rewards are well worth it. With the former, your body is stronger, with kindness your heart and love is stronger
For everyone getting married this year, the lesson from the research is clear. If you want to have a stable and loving relationship, exercise kindness early and often in your relationship!
Celebrant Marcia Thomson, Modern Celebrant