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Accepting Influence

Sonoma Couples Workshops

Per Gottman's research, master couples accept influence from one another, meaning they show respect for each other's opinions in the decision making process. The following is a recent Facebook posting from the Gottman Institute:

You cannot be influential unless you first accept influence. Respect and honor your partner's opinions and feelings in your decision making. 

In a longterm study of 130 couples, we discovered that, even in the first few months of marriage, men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce than men who resist their wives' influence. Statistically speaking, when a man is not willing to share power with his partner, there is an 81% chance that his marriage will fail. It is certainly just as important for wives to treat their husbands with honor and respect. However, our data indicates that the vast majority of wives - even in unstable marriages - already do.

Several authors, including John Gottman, have noted that even today in the United States (with more women than men in the workplace, men now present at the birth of their babies over 90% of the time, and men sharing more equally in household chores) many women are drawn to forgo their life dreams out of a sense of guilt. We recommend that all committed life partners should periodically ask their partner about their life dreams and respectfully include this information in future planning for the couple's life together. This appears to be especially necessary for women in heterosexual relationships.