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Here’s the #1 thing that makes a relationship successful

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Alright, brace yourselves. We're about to drop some hot takes on what really makes a relationship really tick. Forget the fairytales and the endless streams of advice columns. We’re diving into some legit science here.


Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, psychologists and relationship gurus, have studied the love lives of over 40,000 couples. And guess what? They found the secret sauce to relationship success. It’s not grand gestures, not endless love sonnets, nor is it about being the perfect partner. It's something they call “turning toward.”

What the Heck is "Turning Toward"?

Turning toward is all about those little moments where you have the choice to either connect with your partner or... well, not. These moments are called bids for connection. It’s when your partner is like, “Hey, check out this crazy article,” and you can either say, “Yeah, show me!” (turning toward) or just grunt without looking up from your phone (turning away).

Science-Backed Facts

In their lab (yes, an actual love lab), the Gottmans could predict with a whopping 94% accuracy which marriages would last, based on this ‘turning toward’ magic. Couples who stayed together turned toward each other 86% of the time, while the ones who didn't only did answered bids 33% of the time. This is otherwise also known as the 5:1 magic ratio.


Picture this: You’re both chilling at home, and your partner casually mentions, “I’m thinking maybe we should redo the living room.” This is a bid! You could turn toward by engaging in the idea: “Sounds interesting, what do you have in mind?” Or, you could turn away with a non-committal “Hmm” while scrolling through your phone. See the difference? Let's break this down into actionable steps.

1. The 10-Minute Check-in

Try this: set aside 10 minutes each day to check in with your partner to see how they're doing or to talk about something silly. Use Maia to do this! She provides conversation starters every day to help you ask meaningful questions beyond the usual “How was your day?” It’s a simple way to show your partner that you're there for them.

2. Recognizing Opportunities to Connect

A little moment of connection is like finding a penny on the street. It might seem insignificant, but hey, it adds up! This could be anything from making eye contact to responding when your partner calls your name from another room. And if you ever miss this in Maia group chat together, Maia will make sure to call this out (so keep those notifications on!).

3. Handling Missed Bids

If your partner reaches out but you’re swamped, don’t just brush them off. A quick “Can we chat about this later?” goes a long way. Not sure how to communicate that you need a little space or will get to their bid later? Maia can help suggest ways to tackle these challenges in the app.


Let’s be real. This turning toward thing sounds almost too simple, right? But think about it. It’s about building a daily habit of connecting, of choosing your partner, and of making those small moments count. It’s the anti-grand gesture; it’s real life, where the dishes, the Netflix choices, and the late-night chats happen.

Sure, some might say, “Why do I have to respond to every little thing? Shouldn’t true love be effortless?” Here’s the deal: Effortless is a myth. Real, lasting love is about showing up, especially in the small stuff.

So, there you have it. The key to make a relationship successful isn’t in the grand gestures or the perfect compatibility. It’s in how you turn toward each other in the tiny, everyday moments. And, honestly, isn’t that a bit of a relief? It means we all have a shot at this.


If this got you thinking, “Hmm, maybe we could turn toward each other a bit more,” then why not give Maia a try? It’s like having a relationship coach in your pocket, guiding you to make those small but mighty changes that can lead to big-time love success. Sign up now and start turning toward a happier, healthier relationship.

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