An audio-book edition of ‘The 4 Foundations of Love’ is coming soon
The study reveals the secret language of relationships
In my mid 30’s (~7 years ago), as part of an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) master course, I was asked to perform an NLP Modelling on any subject I liked, in order to reveal the patterns of successful people. I chose to study the secret language of (successful) relationship.
“The job of NLP is to create excellence in the performance of human being, no matter what they do” Richard Bandler, co-creator NLP
NLP Modeling is the process that forms the basis of NLP techniques, according to which you can duplicate a person’s or a group’s success by extracting the mold that generates the requested outcome success.
The mold is thoughts, beliefs, resources and action, which allow the sampled people to experience a happy relationship.
In the process, we map the mold of the person’s language system. This pattern is expressed in the story the person tells themselves, their partner and us about their relationship, beliefs, resources, world view, and more. The things they tell their partner, the way they say them, the tone, rhythm and so on – all of those are studied in order to find the difference/s which allow the same group of people to experience a happy relationship or not.
what makes them keep loving their partner years after they’ve met, or even love them more?
This was my research question, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to find.
Since I was so surprised by the findings, I kept on with this modeling-research for years after I completed my NLP masters.
My research sample was divided into several stages, which I was not aware of in advance:
First stage of the study
First- I named strict parameters in order to prevent the entrance of couples who are mistaking a “happy relationship” as a result of dependency (whether financial, joint children, relocation, etc.). The existence of one dependency or another, might lead to accepting the situation and, when it comes to optimistic and adjustable people, they start to see the positive side of the situation. With such acceptance, there is a tendency to re-frame the relationship as ‘happy’, which is great and positive on its own, but not what the research is after; this research was set to find couples who are experiencing a “happy relationship” without any outside dependency or reason.
At this stage, I met with the 18 couples.
Since back then I believed that only the women possessed a super-power when it came to relationships, I conducted in depth interviews with the women on their own. I then later visited them at their place, with their partners, for an observation, which in part had a joint interview.
During the sampling process, there is an upmost importance of removing your “map” (your beliefs and point of view), to allow a clean observation of the samples. This way, you can make a clean analysis, unbiased by your own beliefs, and find the common ground between them.
There were many things that contradicted my beliefs. Nonetheless, during the interviews I was sucked into the subjects’ world, saw their lives, their world view, values and beliefs; all the elements which they thought had contributed to them experiencing their relationship as successful. Furthermore, I heard their unique view of themselves as individuals, as well as part of the relationship.
Even though I could already clearly see, at that stage, the common ground between all those women who experienced a happy relationship, the beliefs they had, how they believed they should be treated, how they spoke about their relationship and their partner, as well as the way they spoke to their partner, and the way they chose to tell me their story. And yet, I had a hard time constructing the mold; put my finger on it.
At that time, I decided to expand my circle of participants and also included couples with common children (83 couples in total). The other parameters remained unchanged. From then, it was easier finding couples who would fit all the parameters.
Second stage of the study
In the second stage of the research, I had in-depth interviews with 27 men and 38 women out of all the couples (65 couples). As I expanded my research-sample pool, I was finally able to perfect the mold which brings a couple to experience “a loving and happy relationship” – 4 foundations on which the successful couples’ relationships are based.4 foundations which can be put in words and allow them to develop a close and stronger relationship.
Unlike my thoughts at the beginning of the research, I realized that even though most of the women have higher emotional intelligence – and I still believe that women would have it easier in laying the foundations and shaping the relationships – I have found that both sides use the same language and the same mold, and I could not tell or guess who was the first one to lay the foundations.
For comfort purposes, all the couples in the research were heterosexual. However, during my career and after finding the four foundations of love, I found out that same-sex couples, who also fit the parameters above, had the four foundations and their use of language was the same.
Third stage of the study
The third stage came after a mapping of the four foundations of love. Then, I looked for these foundations in sessions I had with women who came to me for consultation, women who arrived in a time of crisis or after a breakup. At that point, I found that by applying the foundations, or revealing they were lacking, you can whether the couple could overcome the crisis and reunite. In those kinds of meetings, I usually ask to see letters the partner wrote or WhatsApp messages, where you can quickly analyze the state of the couple’s four foundations. At this point, I found that only 8 out of a total number of 130 couples had all four foundations at some point, but they still broke up. Those were also the couples who had an easier time reconciling, some of which, have even gotten married.
Years of research have led me to the conclusion that, in fact, all successful relationships were based on the four foundations, but every couple had a different version of the foundations, which made them unique.