My Account

Create Shared Meaning: Suggestions from Dr. Gottman

Dr. John Gottman offers practical ways to turn toward each other and create shared meaning in your relationship.

Share this post:

Suggestions from Dr Gottman

When it comes to creating shared meaning, these ideas are ones that you can use in all your relationships, whether it be with your partner, children, siblings, extended relatives, and even friends. Try out a few of them and see how your relationships grow closer and start to feel more connected:

Things to do for (and with) your friends and family:

  • Ask “How are you?” in a way that shows that you really want to know
  • Listen to stories and jokes, even when you’ve heard them before
  • Return things you borrow
  • Say thank you for favors, trade big favors (painting houses, building decks, etc)
  • Ask for advice
  • Know when what you are asking for is too much
  • Remember birthdays, give personalized gifts, and don’t feel that you must overspend
  • Offer compliments
  • Accept apologies
  • Let them off the hook when they say “I can’t do it, I’m exhausted”
  • Let them be upset if they need to be
  • Ask for help
  • Let them help you
  • When they are stressed, try to help them (within your power)
  • Collaborate on projects
  • Talk on the phone
  • Celebrate each other’s successes
  • Show affection
  • Cry together
  • Laugh together

All of these activities are ways of Turning Towards those who are near and dear to you. The 7 levels of The Sound Relationship House are all connected:

  1. Building Love Maps
  2. Sharing Fondness and Admiration
  3. Turning Towards
  4. Keeping A Positive Perspective
  5. Managing Conflict
  6. Making Life Dreams Come True
  7. Creating Shared Meaning

You can’t maintain a successful, healthy relationship without keeping these levels of the house stable; instability on one level can make the whole house fall down. Don’t panic. This will add to the instability. Relax. As you learn to apply Dr. John Gottman’s research-based skills to your own relationships, the ways you interact with your loved ones will naturally become healthier and build stronger bonds that will last a lifetime.

Share this post:

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Recommended products

Original price was: $250.00.Current price is: $179.00.

Transform Your Relationship

The Gottman Relationship Adviser is a complete approach to relationship wellness. Measure your relationship health with the research-based Gottman Assessment, analyze five key areas of your partnership to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then start a tailored, step-by-step digital program proven to heal and strengthen your connection—all on your schedule and from anywhere.

The Adviser uses the legendary scientific Gottman Method to help you understand what’s really going on in your relationship—and gives you exactly what you need to improve it.

Original price was: $119.00.Current price is: $79.00.

Research-based Foundations for a Lifetime of Love.  The Gottman Relationship Coach is an inspiring and educational multimedia experience designed to enhance the well-being of relationships. Participants will be guided through research-based tools and communication skills that can transform relationships—all based on the popular Gottman Method. The first program, “How to Make Your Relationship Work”, is now available and includes:

  • The Gottman Method and How to Make Your Relationship Work
  • How do we predict the future of a relationship?
  • How to build a Sound Relationship House
  • What to do when the destructive Four Horsemen enter your relationship

“Buy Now” will take you to GOTTMAN CONNECT to purchase and view this product.


Created by “the Einstein of Love” (Psychology Today), this two-day workshop is grounded on what actually works in relationships that are happy and stable. See for yourself why millions of couples worldwide have benefited from the Gottman Method.

Quote from participant in most recent Live Virtual Workshop:

The Art and Science of Love workshop- where do I begin? It was an absolute stellar workshop. We were looking forward to this for weeks, and it exceeded our expectations! It was well-structured, and well-organized, and provided a wealth of information with real-time demonstrations of how to work through specific scenarios. The outstanding support that was provided throughout the exercises with therapists on standby- WOW! Priceless!

Includes the Art & Science of Love box set.  Please allow time for shipping.  Please Note: This is a live online event. To attend, you will need a reliable internet connection. Our staff will reach out to you with your personal registration and access information.

Related posts

How You Can Improve Your Relationship with Exercise

How You Can Improve Your Relationship with Exercise

Kari Rusnak

Couples that work out together can stay together because they now have a ritual of connection that creates shared meaning. ...

Read More

Photo of Couple Drinking coffee

What is The Sound Relationship House?

Jennifer Scott

This foundational theory of The Gottman Institute gives couples the tools they need to have a healthy secure relationship. ...

Read More

Rituals for the Family

Create Shared Meaning: Rituals for the Family

Ellie Lisitsa

Creating shared meaning by establishing rituals of connection is not just for couples. Traditions can bring your whole family together. ...

Read More

Dreams within Conflict

Make Life Dreams Come True: Dreams Within Conflict

Ellie Lisitsa

Make each other's dreams come true. ...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month