The Sound Relationship House theory is the foundation of the Gottman Method.
It uses a house as a metaphor for a secure marriage.
The theory identifies seven “floors” that a couple can move through to improve their relationship, along with two “weight-bearing walls,” which are essential to holding the couple together.
These are as follows:
Build love maps: This is the first floor of the Sound Relationship House and involves couples getting to know one another’s inner psychological worlds.
Share fondness and admiration: On this floor, couples learn to overtly express appreciation and respect for each other to strengthen their bond.
Turn towards, not away: This floor involves learning to notice when one’s partner is seeking attention, affection, and comfort and responding accordingly.
The positive perspective: This floor helps partners learn to see one another positively, enabling them to see errors as matters of circumstance, not failures of the individual.
Manage conflict: On this floor, couples learn to manage conflict through a three-step process. First, partners take each other’s feelings into account. Next, partners learn to discuss their problems. Finally, when a partner starts to feel overwhelmed during conflict, they learn techniques to self-soothe to keep their cool.
Make life dreams come true: The second to last floor centers on supporting and championing one’s partner in their dreams and goals.
Create shared meaning: The top floor mirrors the first floor in that it involves understanding an inner world, but in this case, it’s the couple’s inner world and entails uncovering the rituals and stories that have shared meaning for them.
Trust and commitment: The two weight-bearing walls of the Sound Relationship House help couples work through the seven floors. Trust enables couples to believe they can rely on one another and feel like they’re a team, and commitment means couples have agreed to stick together and improve their relationship.
Clearly, each floor of the Sound Relationship House represents an opportunity for couples to develop new skills that will strengthen their relationship. Gottman therapists use this theory to drive their work with couples.