Marriage Conflict

The Magic Ratio of Happy and Healthy Relationships

Happy

Happy

Whether it’s about not having enough sex, the dirty laundry, or spending too much money, conflict is inevitable in every marriage.

To understand the difference between happy and unhappy couples, Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson began doing longitudinal studies of couples in the 1970s.… Continue reading Here

Defensiveness Doesn’t Protect a Relationship

Defensive

Defensive
Being defensive blocks connection, compassion, and isolates you from your partner. Instead of focusing on we-ness, a defensive person focuses on me-ness. Defensiveness is one of the most dangerous signs of toxic fighting because it creates never-ending cycles of negativity.… Continue reading Here

Stopping the Pursue-Withdraw Pattern: An Interview with Scott R. Woolley, Ph.D.

Stopping the Pursue-Withdraw Pattern: An Interview with Scott R. Woolley, Ph.D.

Withdraw

The pursue-withdraw pattern is an extremely common cause of divorce. If left unresolved, it will continue into a second marriage and subsequent intimate relationships. As Dr. Gottman explains in Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, “This classical marital impasse is all too common—a wife seeking emotional connection from a withdrawn husband.”… Continue reading Here

Have You Committed to a Contempt-Free Marriage?

Commitment

Commitment

The absence of delight in your partner creates an emptiness in a marriage that ruins love. According to Dr. Gottman’s research on long-lasting marriages, the number one predictor as to whether a marriage would last was the presence or absence of contempt.… Continue reading Here

The Habit of Criticism is Poisonous to Any Relationship

The Habit of Criticism is Poisonous to Any Relationship

Criticism

No one wants to stay in a relationship that makes them feel more judged than admired. Yet, it’s too common for couples to see the other person as the problem.

And since the other partner is the problem, the only solution is for them to change…right?… Continue reading Here

Stop Trying to Fix Your Partner’s Feelings, Connect with Them Instead

Stop Trying to Fix Your Partner’s Feelings, Connect with Them Instead

Feelings

One of our deepest needs as humans is to feel understood, and true understanding is not possible without empathy. As psychologist Carl Rogers put it, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”… Continue reading Here

How to Listen Without Getting Defensive in Relationship Conflict

Listening

Understanding your partner requires the capacity to listen. Really listen. Couples are advised to hear each other’s complaints without feeling attacked, and as great as this sounds, it’s often unrealistic.

When something you said (or didn’t say) hurts your partner’s feelings, there’s a strong impulse to interrupt with, “That wasn’t my intention.… Continue reading Here

Understanding Must Precede Advice in Relationship Conflict

Understanding Must Precede Advice in Relationship Conflict

Understand

Mike finds his wife’s “explosion” of anger “unbearable.” When she gets angry, he tries to neutralize or fix her feelings. He often tries to problem solve before understanding why Stacey is upset. This makes Stacey feel dumb for experiencing and expressing her innate feelings.… Continue reading Here