Secrets To Successful Relationships - The Five To One Ratio
John Gottman in his research with couples has found that relationships that are successful have a 5 to 1 ratio of “positive bids” to “negative bids”. And what is a bid? A bid is a sign of response or non response to your partner.
A positive bid can be a response to a statement. For example: “My boss told me that she liked my report”. A positive bid could be any acknowledgement of the statement from “That’s great!” to a hug and kiss saying “I’m so proud of you”. John Gottman explains it best in The Seven Principles Making Marriage Work (2015). “… couples are always making what I call “bids” for each other’s attention, affection, humor, or support” (2015, p. 88). He further explains “ The partner responds to each bid either by turning toward the spouse or turning away. A tendency to turn toward your partner is the basis of trust, emotional connection, passion, and a satisfying sex life.” (2015, p. 88)
A negative bid would occur when one partner reaches out to the other but doesn’t get a response. If we take the example above, if there were no response to “My boss told me that she liked my report”, if the partner kept reading the newspaper or his/her tablet without acknowledging that something had been said, that would be a “negative bid”.
So, how is your relationship? Now that you are aware of what “bids” are, can you recognize when your partner is reaching out? And do you give a positive or negative bid back? This is proven in research as described in John Gottman’s book.