5 Marriage Strategies from John Gottman
Marriage is a sacred union between two people. At least, that is what we are told growing up. The idealized version of marriage as a kid often meets the hard reality of marriage in the daily grind of life.
Marriage takes work to…wellâ€¦ work. That is why it is so important that couples get the right skills to make this happen.
Just like every carpenter has a favorite hammer, and doctor a favorite stethoscope, married couples need to have their preferred tools of choice.
One of the most effective mentors in the marriage counseling realm is John Gottman. Fortunately, Gottman has a number of marriage strategies to help you do this.
5 Strategies for Improving Your Marriage
- Positive Bids- John Gottman did a study of his patients a few years ago. His study discovered that the most successful partners have active bids towards each other 87% of the time.
What is an active bid?
Suppose you tell your spouse about an interesting story on the web. What do they do?
Do you ask your spouse to tell you what they find interesting? Do you come over and look? Maybe you mumble incoherently and then go about your business. Or maybe you complain about something.
The way you continually respond forms a habit of mind with your partner that demonstrates your interest in them. These small, daily communication point between couples are essential to the long-term success. It gets couples into the belief that they are a â€œweâ€ and not an â€œIâ€ or â€œme.â€
According to Gottmanâ€™s research, happy couples have 5 positive bids to every negative bid. This is an ideal range for couples.
- Respect your partner- It is easy to respect them when everything is going right and you are having a beautiful, romantic night. However, this also means you need to respect them during an argument.
To do this, you must stay connected with each other when arguing by respecting each otherâ€™s positions, as well as, accepting your spouse’s position.
Gottman found that 69% of the time, couples had the exact same argument over the same issues over and over again. They were perpetual problems that required couples to work out peacefully.
By coping with it together, having a sense of humor, and being able to disagree while soothing the other person they de-escalated the conflict.
- Accept your partners influence– Marriage is not a power struggle. It requires respect and compromise. That is why it is important to share power and decision making together.
It is okay for your partner to have influence over your actions. Often women already do this, but men have to do the same thing in return. Otherwise, you again get into a “you” versus “me” dynamic that is not healthy for the relationship.
- Edit your inner voice– You want to scream at the top of your lungs at your partner, because of something they did. However, then you remember that if you did that it would just add fuel the fire.
It is okay to be mad or angered about something that happened; however, you need to understand that happy couples do not to state every thought that pops into their heads.
Instead, it is better if you respect your better half by not insulting them or saying something you cannot take back.
We are told as kids that sticks and stones could break our bones, but words can never hurt us. However, the truth is that when your soul mate says something that hits home it hurts more.
Being with that person is our safe zone. The place where we can feel safe to be ourselves and be a better person because of it. However, when someone you love says something that cuts deep it is hard to recover.
Therefore, edit your words first.
- Avoid the Four Horseman– The final strategy is that you should avoid the “Four Horseman” of disastrous communication.
These are the four types of communication that can lead to the greatest breakdown in a relationship.
The four horseman are:
The First Horseman: CRITICISM
The Second Horseman: CONTEMPT
The Third Horseman: DEFENSIVENESS
The Fourth Horseman: STONEWALLING
By avoiding the horsemen, you can avoid a lot of the communication difficulties that arise in a new business.
Do you need help putting these strategies into use? Sometimes it is better to have a non-partial party ready to help you communicate in a healthy and dynamic way.
If you are looking for someone to help you, then call Smith Psychotherapy today at 847-824-8366 to set up a counseling session.