Psychology of couple relationships healthy conflict techniques

August 18,2022

Mental Health

Introduction to the psychology of couple relationships

Relationships have become very capricious and fickle in today's world. This instability of relationships could be because people are too preoccupied with their world. And, they do not have the time required to be invested in a relationship or do not know the psychology of couple relationships and healthy conflict techniques behind sustaining relationships. The art of maintaining a happy relationship is not a mere walk in the park. The first stages of every romantic relationship have vitality and excitement. 

Psychology of couple relationships: forgiveness and trust

As time passes, the feelings of excitement slowly fade and are consumed by personal insecurities and loss of interest. Once these negative feelings creep into a relationship, the feeling of love is lost. It results in the termination of what could have been a happy relationship.

But relationship researchers have developed new and innovative techniques to keep the initial feeling along. These will help a couple overcome the bitterness and keep the initial magic and excitement alive. These techniques are from the fundamental ideas of compassion, positivity and emotional connection. And they are based on the psychology of couple relationships: forgiveness and trust. These three techniques are the simplest ones to learn but practising them requires effort.

Psychology of couple relationships increasing intimacy

Dr Sue Johnson is a British clinical psychologist from Ottawa. She believes that emotional responsiveness has an important role in sustaining relationships. In her work, she has said that emotional responsiveness stands out as the best method for the longevity of relationships. Her argument is from years of study in developmental psychology and social psychology. 

Dr Johnson thinks that emotional responsiveness allows couples to fall in love repeatedly. 

According to Dr Johnson, emotional responsiveness is the very thing which lets couples understand each other. She uses the term emotional synchronicity to explain how it is essential for a couple to be able to get into each other's mental and emotional states. 

Dr Johnson believes that emotional disconnectedness is the major reason behind failed relationships. Everyone in a relationship desires a strong emotional connection with the other person. And a lack of it can cause insecurity or a feeling of distress. As a result, emotional connection and synchronicity can create a couple's sense of security and comfort. Therefore, she notes that extreme criticism and self-justification are big NOs in relationships.

Dr Johnson founded Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to solve emotional distance and disconnectedness. This therapeutic approach motivates the couple to express their needs and desires. By doing so, couples learn the psychology of couple relationships, increasing intimacy.

Psychology of couple relationships

Psychology of couple relationships creating shared values

Gottman Institute is an organisation for the study of relationships and marriage. The Gottman Lab mostly researches relationships. It has been conducting several studies on relationship gratification since the 1970s. The motto of the Gottman Institute is "small things often", and it focuses on the power of positivity. Carrie Cole, the director of research at this institute, also believes in the power of positivity. And how it can influence relationships. According to her, emotional disconnectedness happens when the couple does not have a positive attitude. She says that engaging in activities that do not spark positivity could create a distance between two people. And, ultimately this will lead to extreme emotional disconnection. It could even reach a stage where the two people might no longer recognise each other. 

Therefore, the Gottman Institute motivates and inspires couples to indulge in positive activities. This includes daily interactions that exhibit appreciation and gratitude for each other. 

According to Cole, every couple should engage in a significant positive activity to compliment one's partner daily and find different and unique ways. This is based on the psychology of couple relationships creating shared values. Cole says that these compliments can express one's appreciation for their partner. And, one could talk about how beautiful their partner looks or why they love them. Activities such as these can make the partners feel good and remind them about their initial spark of love. 

Psychology of couple relationships: opening a dialogue

 Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist and a senior fellow at the Kinsey Institute. She conducted several experiments about the brain's connection with love and relationships. In one of her experiments, she scanned the brains of various individuals. She found that the psychology of couple relationships: opening a dialogue has a huge influence on relationships. As a result, she discovered that people with the three neuro-chemical constituents have greater gratification in their relationships. 

The three neuro-chemical constituents are:

  1. Exercising empathy 
  2. Control of stress and feelings 
  3. Positive attitude towards partners 

Fisher thinks that people in satisfying relationships practice empathy with each other. They keep away feelings of negativity and destruction and instead focus on the positive aspects of their partners. She says that happy couples can understand each other's perspectives and do not always strive to be right and win every argument. Fisher also says that controlling one's emotions. Stress is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. 

Suppose one feels unable to control their sentiments. In that case, one should find a way to channel the negativity out healthy. That could either mean going to the gym, taking a walk etc. While talking about positivity, Fisher mentions the term "positive illusions". In addition, it means that one should always keep one's partner in a positive light and must not dwell on negative aspects. So, no one is perfect, and everyone has negative qualities. But to live a happy and satisfying life, one should focus on the positive aspects of their partner and not think about them in a negative light. 


Dr Sue Johnson believes that being able to heal relationships and keeping them strong make them emotionally and mentally resilient. Therefore, she states that the quality of their relationships can determine a person's quality of life. As a result, a deep connection with their loved ones is essential. 

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