The Losada Line in Marriage
The Losada Line, or Losada ratio, is a important number in relationships. Named after psychologist Marcial Losada, the line is based on the ratio of positive to negative feedback one receives from a boss, a friend, a parent, or a spouse. When the ratio is above 2.9 positive to 1 negative, things go well. When the ratio is lower, things do not go well. This has been shown to be true repeatedly, in business, sports teams, and marriage relationships (John Gottman has done a lot of study on this in marriage).
What this means is you have to say at least three nice things for every “not nice” thing you say. You have to offer at least three compliments for each uncomplimentary thing you say. It means corrections and complains need to be no more than a third as common as “well done” and “you really blessed me”. Less than three to one will bring discouragement and can kill motivation to try to improve.
Yes, this can be difficult when your marriage is in a rough spot. So here is the challenge – when things are tough, when you are both failing to hit the 3 to 1 goal, choose to be the grown-up and start saying more nice things and fewer mean things. Realise this is the only way to turn things around, and do it.