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Caring Behaviors



"Our research shows that small, positive behaviors, frequently repeated, can make a big difference in the long-term success of a marriage.  You could compare this work to piloting a plane cross-country.  A turn of a few degrees over Ohio may seem like a small adjustment - merely fine tuning.  But, in the long run it determines whether you end up in San Francisco or Los Angeles.  So it is with a long-term relationship.  When both partners commit to making small but consistently positive shifts in their interactions, they can take their marriage to a much happier place.  And it's easier to assimilate small changes rather than big ones."

--John Gottman, Ph.D.
World renowned expert on marital stability and divorce prediction



Teaching couples how to implement these small changes is a quick and easy way to begin infusing something positive back into the relationship.  Even very distressed couples can make small changes that make a difference.  In Imago, we call these changes Caring Behaviors and we teach this to couples every day in our practice.   

To get a head start before coming in, make a list of five - ten things your partner does (or used to do) that make you feel loved and cared about. Caring behaviors are defined as simple, highly repeatable behaviors that could be done every day.  Things like making me a cup of coffee, opening a car door, reaching out to hold my hand, or sending me a text message just to say you are thinking about me.  Once each of you have made your list give it to your partner.  Make a conscious decision to do one thing every day on that list. These behaviors add up over time.

They are like making deposits in your bank account.  During hard times you have something to draw on.


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