Gottman methods are gold. My goal is to employ his principles when working with a couple.They are proven. Here is one that is vital for marital satisfaction.
Repair Attempts- so many arguments would never get off the ground if we all learned to stop and try again.
We get off on the wrong foot, we roll our eyes, we use a bad tone, we are yelling( according to the listener) we know what he really meant, on and on and on.
I have had clients who need to cool off for a period of time after a big or little tiff yet taking 3 months is a bit severe.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could be like my neighbors growing up, a bit like the Soprano’s- lots of noise, lots of gesturing, lots of expression. Over and done.
Almost like a cloud burst. A short storm,and then the sun comes out tomorrow.
Unfortunately many of us did not get very good training when it comes to conflict. We marry and don’t really know how to disagree with our partner, how to stand our ground, how to acquiesce, how to work together. We do what ever method we saw in our household.
In my case it was stonewalling. Silent treatment was my thing and I was very good at it. Yet I learned that it was destructive. But learning a new way, that was hard. Getting over it, not replaying and replaying the offense- it’s a bit like stoking a fire. We can keep the anger or hurt alive much longer if we nurse it.
Some how nursing a grudge was a skill I had honed. I had to stop it.
Repair attempts are little acts of ‘give me a second chance. I blew it the first time. I said the wrong thing. Can we strike it from the record? It does you or he no good to harbor that comment so it can be thrown out at a later date. That’s dirty fighting and it isn’t good for your relationships.
One of my premarital questions is “ How are you at forgiveness?”
When they don’t have an answer, I can predict trouble ahead.
in future blogs I will review the other principles that are part of the Gottman method.
Source: Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
John Gottman, PhD