In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman suggests that one of the best ways to have a happy and stable relationship is by giving yourself to your partner by letting your partner influence you.
By letting your partner influence you, Gottman said, you are sharing in the relationship, which allows for more open communication, because the action and reaction between your partner and you is more soft and kind.
Gottman’s studies have shown that men are more prone to being stubborn and not letting their partner influence them. The same data showed that when looking at the first few months of marriage, men who let their spouses influence them are much happier, and allowing their partner to influence them lowers the chances that the marriage will self-destruct. Allowing a partner to influence you is evidenced by sharing power and decision-making and by actively seeking common ground rather than working to get one’s own way all the time.
Gottman suggests men can learn from their wives by learning how to connect emotionally with the family and by noticing what’s going on around them. Switching off the football game to spend time with his family is an example, where the husband is choosing “them” instead of “him.”
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2002). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Pr.