State of the Union

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

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

Understanding Each Other: Part One of the State of The Union Meeting

Understanding

Understanding

How you and your partner fight directly influences how emotionally connected and passionate your relationship is.

After four decades of research on thousands of couples, Dr. Gottman noticed that the Masters of relationships fought differently than the Disasters. The Masters focused on attuning to each other by seeking to understand before problem-solving, whereas the Disasters consistently devolved into the Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.… 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!”

Think back to a time when you were listened to and really felt heard.… 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

Transforming Criticism into Wishes: A Recipe for Successful Conflict

Wishing

Wishing

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.

In the heat of an argument, it’s far easier to say what we don’t want than what we do. Stan Tatkin, the founder of the psychobiological approach to couple therapy, proposes that people are better built for war than love.… Continue reading Here

There Are Two Views to Every Conflict and Both Are Valid

Conflict

Conflict

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog

Heather’s voice raises as she says, “How can you not see it my way? It’s the truth and you know it. You’re just too stubborn to admit it!”

Jason responds, “That’s not what happened at all.… Continue reading Here

Help Your Partner Understand Your Side of the Conflict in 3 Steps

Help Your Partner Understand Your Side of the Conflict in 3 Steps

Understanding

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.

Conflict isn’t easy: There’s hurt. There’s misunderstanding. And, at the same time, there are parts of us that are screaming to feel validated and understood. The problem for many of us is we have learned to communicate in a way that actually pushes our partners away from truly understanding us or meeting our needs.… Continue reading Here