American psychologist and bestselling author John Gottman has spent more than 40 years studying what makes marital relationships last – or not. In Flow Magazine Issue 17, he talks with Nina Siegal about his research and what factors contribute to lasting partnerships. Here’s an extract of the feature.

Why do you think so many people nowadays struggle with the question of how to have a lasting relationship? Do we make unrealistic demands in our relationships?
Don Baucom of the University of North Carolina in the US studied this question and found that people who demand to be treated well in their relationships are much more likely to be treated so than people who have lowered their expectations. So, no, people aren’t struggling in relationships because of unrealistic demands. People are struggling because they don’t always know how to make a relationship successful. There are some basic principles for making relationships work, which lead to happy and lasting love. The principles are not very complicated. Basically, love requires attention, instead of neglect. Relationships work when we foster respect, affection and closeness, manage conflict well together, are responsive to one another’s bids for attention, and support each other’s hopes for the future.

  • You can find the article How do Relationships stand the test of Time in issue 17.

Text Nina Siegal Hand-lettering Valerie Mckeehan