Relationship Minute: What Can You Promise Your Partner?

In “What Makes Love Last?” Dr. John Gottman notes that emotional repairs are more effective than cognitive attempts because emotional repairs lower tension by acknowledging the feelings of both partners.

One approach to an emotional repair is making promises—more specifically, agreeing to a positive change in the future.

This can look like any of the following: 

  • “From here on out, I will listen to you more.” 
  • “I can work on my tone in future conversations.” 
  • “Next time we have an argument, I will take a break when I see you’re flooded.” 
  • “No more phones at the table during dinner. I want to be more present when we’re together.” 

Responses like this, especially during conflict, allow you to take responsibility for your behavior and show your partner that you consider them and their feelings.

When it comes to repairing, what can you promise your partner?

Related blog posts

The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.