🥰 5:1 x 7 is the secret to happy relationships

and how John Gottman hacked the equation for lasting love

In honor of Valentines day, I just wanna shoutout my sweet Emmalee for being the best darn wife and mother to my children I could ever ask for.

She’s smart, adorable, supportive, sharp as a tack, and an absolute joy to do life together with. You don’t find a girl like her every dynasty!

And with that, enjoy this love-filled Habit Example!


⚡️ Estimated read time: 2 minutes 54 seconds.


❤️ = 5:1 × 7

Lemme explain.

Imagine you’re sitting at a table with your spouse. (if you’re not married, imagine your real or fictional significant other)

You’re given 15 minutes to resolve a conflict you both have strong opinions about.

Ready… set… GO!

Think you could do it? Or just end up in a hissy fit?

This is exactly what John Gottman was doing back in the 1970’s, when he’d interview couples, give them this challenge, and sit back and watch.

And what they discovered is by far the closest to a “secret to long-lasting happiness and love” that science has ever uncovered.

And it’s simple: The difference between happy and unhappy couples was determined by no more than their ratio of positive to negative experiences.

Specifically, they found the ideal ratio in the happiest relationships was 5 positive experiences for every 1 negative experience.

In other words, 1 bad thing happening every single day in your relationship isn’t the end of the world, so long as you have 5 good things happening to counterbalance it!

So a happy relationship might look a little something like this:

While a not-so-happy relationship might look more like this:

So what do you do if your ratio is outta whack?

Multiply by 7.

Specifically, the Greek’s 7 types of love.

In English, the word “love” can mean anything from

  • “I love light sabers”

  • to “You are the love of my life and I’d eat an entire jar of mayonaise for you”

  • to “Have I ever told you how much I love the smell of laundry detergent?”

And pretty much everything in between.

All with the exact same word!

But the Greeks are built different.

They have 7 different words for love:

  • Eros: Romantic, passionate love

  • Philia: Affectionate, friendly love

  • Storge: Unconditional, familial love

  • Agape: Selfless, universal love

  • Ludus: Playful, flirtatious love

  • Pragma: Committed, long-lasting love

  • Philautia: Self love

And if your ratio of positive to negative experiences is out of balance, more than likely you’re lacking one of the above types of love in your relationship.

A strong relationship should have parts of all 7 types of love on some level of frequency.

If yours doesn’t? Well.. you’re gonna wanna change that.

Brainstorm things you could intentionally do in your relationship that line up with each of the 7 types of love.

It could be things like:

  • Eros: Turn on a slow song and do the whole “hugging-&-swaying” thing

  • Philia: Go on a walk together and talk about life

  • Storge: Do family playtime building a tower with blocks

  • Agape: Happily offer to let them pick the movie or restaurant this time

  • Ludus: Go to a park and swing together while holding hands

  • Pragma: Create a slide show or video compilation from your years together and put it to a special song

  • Philautia: Go to the gym, organize your side of the room, take the next action on your goal (yes - improving personally is a valid way to express love to your significant other. It shows you care enough to be your best for them)

Obviously if you try and take on all these new things at once, it might feel like a bit much.

But start with one, then another… and try to build them into regular habits.

If you can consistently start compounding your positive experiences more and more, before you know it… your ratio could go from 5:5… to 5:1!

And it won’t be a mystery what caused it, because you know the formula.

Surprise your loved one and push that ratio in the right direction, starting today.


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Try it

Start by picking one of the types of love you feel like you might be lacking in your relationship, and make a clear, specific plan to do this week to take a step forward in expressing that type of love in a tangible way.

Follow through on that plan, then pick the next type of love you want to work on.

Ultimately, a happy relationship is a sum of all the experiences you’ve had together.

So if all you need to do is add enough positive experiences to outweigh the negatives, it’s basically just a numbers game!



🎶 Everything. (song)

😂 The first guy to EVER make a New Year’s Resolution (Comedy Sketch on YouTube)

🙏 If you speak spanish, you might enjoy this podcast where I was asked about how to build Christlike habits. (Podcast on YouTube or Spotify)

🏊🏼‍♂️ How a 14 year-old Michael Phelps fan dominated his hero for the Gold medal in just 8 years. (blog post)

What people DON’T see when it comes to success. (Tweet)

🏒 Is Canadian pro hockey totally rigged? (And how you can build your own unfair advantages) (Habit Example from one year ago)



My 3-year-old:

*sits on toilet*

*goes #2*

*looks down*

“Oh! That’s from tater tots!”



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- Kody


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P.S. This took 5 hours to research, write, and design. It only takes you 5 seconds to share.

Enjoy today’s Habit Example? I’d love to hear your thoughts here. 💙