State of the Union

5 Steps to the Roach Motel of Relationships & How to Stay Out of It

5 Steps to the Roach Motel of Relationships & How to Stay Out of It

roach motel

Have you ever heard of the Roach Motel?

In Dr. John Gottman’s observational research of heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples,1 he found that in every interaction couples were either nice, neutral, or nasty toward each other.

It doesn’t take Dr.… Continue reading Here

Criticism Kills Relationships: Why this Habit is Poisonous

criticism kills relationships

criticism kills relationships

Is it true that criticism kills relationships?

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, leading to constant criticism.Continue reading Here

Defensiveness Doesn’t Protect a Relationship: 4 DIY Remedies

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

Conflict in Relationships: 3 Steps to Help Your Partner See Your Side

Conflict in Relationships: 3 Steps to Help Your Partner See Your Side

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.

Conflict in relationships 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

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

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!”… 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