27 Questions to Strengthen your Relationship Using the Gottman Method

< back to blogs
Published Date|
December 1, 2023

27 Questions to Strengthen your Relationship Using the Gottman Method

Do you find yourself having the same fight with your partner every day? 

Whether they can never seem to do the dishes the right way, or you can never agree on the best way to handle your complicated in-laws, it can feel frustrating to feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself.

In reality, 69% of relationship arguments are not resolvable. That means they will continue to come up, again and again, throughout your relationship. 

As a therapist, I know this stat seems scary, but it actually suggests something interesting. 

It isn’t what you argue about that makes or breaks your relationships, it’s how you argue, what you do before, what you do after, and, unsurprisingly, what you do throughout your relationships. 

The questions in this article will help you explore nine different areas of your relationship, help you and your partner learn more about each other, and give you a new perspective on the goals you want to reach together.

Why Use The Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method gives us, in great detail, an amazing structure to consider and improve how we relate to our partners.

At the start of the Love Lab, John Gottman interviewed 130 newlywed couples. Through painstaking research he was able to predict which couples would divorce, stay together, and stay together happily with 94% accuracy. 94%!!!

Since then, the Gottmans used the Love Lab to interview over 3000 couples.

Luckily, they’ve shared what they found.

Whether you’re in a new relationship, or have been married for decades, these questions can provide the roadmap for a closer, more fulfilling relationship.

9 Components of Healthy Relationships

The Sound Relationship House Theory provides a model to understand the components that add to a healthy and lasting relationship.

The "house" represents the relationship, and each floor represents a different aspect of the partnership. 

gottman sound relationship house

Remember to ask and answer the questions with genuine affection and curiosity; this isn’t about what your partner isn’t or should be doing, it’s about non-judgmentally learning about one another to make your joint relationship flourish.

1. Build Love Maps

Love maps is a term used to describe the mental and emotional understanding of each other’s world, including likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Couples are encouraged to explore one another’s internal lives. This is the foundation of the relationship. 

Ask one another: 

  • What are some of your current goals and aspirations? 
  • How have your priorities evolved in the past year? 5 years? 
  • What are you interested in now that you weren’t interested in last year?

2. Share Fondness and Admiration

This floor of the house emphasizes the importance of expressing positive regard and appreciation for each other. Couples are encouraged to regularly communicate admiration and fondness to strengthen their emotional connection.

Ask one another:

  • What specific qualities of mine do you appreciate the most?
  • Can you share a recent moment when you felt especially fond of me?
  • Can you recall a specific instance when you felt proud of us as a couple? What qualities of ours stood out to you in that moment?

3. Turn Towards Each Other Instead of Away

Successful couples turn towards each other in moments of hardship or connection, rather than turning away. This involves responding positively to bids for attention, affection, or communication, and fostering a sense of responsiveness and engagement even in conflict.

Ask one another: 

  • How can I better support you when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
  • Are there specific ways you prefer to connect or spend quality time together?
  • Are there specific signs or cues you give when you need support or connection, and how can I better recognize and respond to them?

4. The Positive Perspective

This point emphasizes maintaining a positive outlook on the relationship, even during challenging times. It involves reframing negative events or behaviors in a more optimistic light and giving the benefit of the doubt to the partner.

Ask one another:

  • What’s something you’re really proud we overcame?
  • What do you think has kept us together even through some of the challenges we’ve faced?
  • How do you think we can approach challenges as a team in a more positive light in the future?

5. Manage Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and this component focuses on developing effective conflict resolution skills. 

It means learning how to navigate disagreements in a healthy way, understanding each other's perspectives, and finding compromise.

Ask one another:

  • What can I do to make you feel heard and understood? 
  • Can you recall a disagreement between us that went well, and what stood out about it?
  • What are some effective ways we can navigate disagreements without escalating tension?

6. Make Life Dreams Come True

Couples are encouraged to support each other's aspirations and goals. This means trying to understand and actively participate in the pursuit of each other's dreams and life aspirations, growing a sense of shared purpose.

Ask one another:

  • What are some of your long-term life goals, and how can I support you in achieving them?
  • What did you dream of growing up, and are there parts of those dreams you’d still like to make happen today?
  • Is there a specific dream or goal of yours that you'd like to prioritize in the upcoming year, and how can we work together to make it a reality?

7. Create Shared Meaning

This floor involves establishing a sense of shared values, goals, and rituals. Couples are encouraged to create a sense of meaning and purpose together, contributing to the overall cohesion of the relationship.

Ask one another:

  • Are there specific values or principles that you believe are important for us to share?
  • What rituals or traditions do you value in our relationship, and how can we strengthen them?
  • What are some new rituals or activities we can incorporate into our relationship to deepen our sense of shared meaning?

8. Trust

Trust is a fundamental aspect of any healthy relationship. Building and maintaining trust involves being reliable, consistent, and honest with each other. Trust forms the basis for emotional safety within the relationship.

Ask one another: 

  • How can we continue to build and maintain trust as our relationship evolves?
  • What actions or behaviors make you feel most secure and trusting in our relationship?
  • How do you think our trust has grown, and what can we do to continue fostering a sense of trust and security?

9. Commitment

The top floor of the House represents commitment. This includes a commitment to the relationship itself, to the growth and well-being of each partner, and to navigating challenges together.

Ask one another:

  • What does commitment mean to you in our relationship?
  • Are there specific ways we can reaffirm our commitment to each other regularly?
  • How can we nurture and express our commitment to each other on a regular basis?

Next Steps to Strengthen Your Relationship

After reading this article, you have 27 new questions to help provide more insight and clarity into your relationship with your partner.

While these questions are a great place to start, sometimes some extra support is exactly what you need to help your relationship flourish.

Register online to learn more about how therapy could help you, or take KMA Therapy’s  Attachment Styles Quiz to explore how your attachment style might be impacting your relationship.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, explore these articles:

About the author:

Julieta is a compassionate and dedicated therapist who believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live their best life. She uses an empathetic approach to create a safe and supportive environment where clients feel comfortable sharing their experiences. 

Julieta's approach to therapy is holistic, drawing on a range of techniques to help clients achieve lasting change. She believes that therapy is not just about addressing immediate challenges, but about helping individuals to build a deeper understanding of the self, and the resilience they need to navigate life's ups and downs with confidence and self-assurance.

Book an appointment with Julieta to start your therapy journey today.

Author |
Julieta Melano Zittermann
No items found.
KMA Therapy

Register Online

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Or, are you all set and ready to book?

Choose from available times and book your intake now.

Ontario's Premier Counselling Practice

Therapy has been proven to increase happiness, reduce anxiety, and increase overall fulfillment. Our team of specialized therapists are here to help you work through the issues that are important to you.