The Magic Ratio

Surely most of us are aware that no romantic relationship is perfect. We have our ups and our downs, times when we feel amazingly connected and times when we do not. There is negativity in all relationships, in fact, couples need somenegativity in their relationship, but how much?  

According to John Gottman (renowned relationship expert who has conducted over 40 years of research) the magic ratio of positive to negative interactions with our loved ones is:                  5:1
         Positive: Negative

The strongest and most satisfied relationships consist of 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction. 



  • Positive interactions = touching, smiling, laughing, kissing, playing
  • Negative interactions = arguing, defensiveness, criticism    

Why do we need some negativity? Because it helps couples identify the interaction patterns that are not working, therefore, they can learn and work through it. In other words, it helps relationships move forward and grow. You can learn about your partner's and your own style of conflict and perhaps change your strategy for handling conflict in the longer run.  

Next time you find yourself in a tense discussion try to ask yourself: 


  • What do I do that makes my partner more frustrated? 
  • How can I change my behavior to reduce the tension and still get my point across?