Research has been able to define master or disaster couple science.   Master couples live in a  sound relationship house.  What they do in relationship is very different to what disaster couples do.


Are you a high functioning COUPLE?                                                                                                             

There is more positivity than negativity, 5:1 ratio

You turn towards each other, you are emotionally engaged and talk

You both use humour, affection, amusement, active coping techniques and communicate acceptance when in conflict.

You stay present with each other.

You accept and follow the influence and guidance of your partner.

Practise active listening, you want to understand your partner’s perspective, even if you do not agree with it.

You both use a “soft start up”, when there is conflict it is tempered.

You are both building a positive relationship bank account.

There are effective mending attempts to build positivity.

You both deescalate negativity, anger is not dangerous.

You create a safe space to get to know your partner’s thoughts, feelings and needs.

You have ways to identify conflict early and stop conflict in the first place.

You have a strong friendship

You are affectionate and intimate with each other.


Are you a Low Functioning Couple?

You turn away from each other, most of the time

Negativity escalates. **

There is more negativity than positivity. **

You minimise your own errors and maximise your partner’s errors.

There is an enemy in the house, you view your partner as the enemy

Continued emotional disengagement. **

There is emotional and physical withdrawal

There is failure to accept  guidance and influence.

When you are ” triggered” you want to either attack, withdraw, criticise or be defensive, all the time.

There is little dialogue, you or your partner do not express thoughts, feelings and needs.

Chronic physiological arousal, flooded with anger and emotion.

You hold onto fights.

Not able to share who you are and your vulnerabilities.

Miscommunication often happens.

There is a lack of connection and communication.

There is neglect and continued suffering

** indicators for separation and divorce

Written by Linda Taylor

Adapted from Dr’s John and Julie Gottman