Sometimes “When” Is Just As Important As “What” Part 1 of this two-part series, focused on a core finding in […]
Some years ago a couple was working with had been struggling with arguing and bickering. We identified and had been working with the patterns of the Four Horsemen in their interactions. They had some successes, but struggled with relapsing into old patterns of blame and criticism. In our last session they reported that they had made a breakthrough in their relationship. I waited with anxious anticipation after asking them what made the difference? I thought to myself, what did I do or say that made the difference? What tool did I give them that helped them to manage their conflicts? One can never tell for sure what things seem to click.
Dr. John and Julie Gottman have been studying relationships for a long time. John’s longitudinal research on the course of relationships began in 1975 after teaming with Dr Robert Levenson to determine why some relationships can be like ticking time bombs ending in divorce
This is the core of intimacy, partners feeling seen and accepted for who they are, and each knowing what is important to the other. My initial confusion as a Gottman therapist about the Meaning component gave way to a simple awareness about the importance of partners communicating love by asking and listening to the right questions.
Who would have thought that when it comes to qualities, it turns out that cows have a number of innate behaviors and social characteristics that translate really well into creating happy and healthy relationships in our species.
It can happen in a moment. We are having a conversation and suddenly, or not so suddenly, bamm, our partner says something that lights up our internal fuse. It’s amazing how efficient our brains are in mobilizing a fight or flight response…
Conflict actually provides an opportunity for intimacy and closeness in a relationship. When each partner expresses what is important and what they need, then out of conflict comes a deeper knowledge and understanding of your partner, and an opportunity to turn toward the partner.
We have learned from the Gottman research what works in relationships. Relationship happiness occurs when couples establish a close friendship on a day-by-day basis. Increased intimacy sets the stage for a greater ability to manage conflict.
We have learned from the research that it isn’t what couples talk about that predicts success. Taking the time to talk to each other, literally about anything, sets the stage for deeper conversations when needed.
Most people familiar with the Drs. John and Julie’s Gottman research on divorce prediction and prevention are likely to have heard of the Four Horsemen. These are the pervasive negative and destructive interactions that are known to predict divorce and relationship dissatisfaction. However, there is much more to the story on those predictors.
I recently created a video, The Smallest Units of Intimacy, describing “bids” as any attempt a partner makes to try to connect with their partner. It could be a bid for time, for connection, for support, for humor, and so on. How partners typically respond to bids is highly predictive stability and happiness in the relationship.
How do successful couples create consistent emotional closeness, enduring patterns of love and intimacy? We have learned a lot from the Gottman research about what works in happy relationships, and we know what reliably predicts distressed relationships.
Conversation Snippets “It’s 3:00 am, why are you checking your email now?…because you want to see if your vacation notification
It was a mystery. My poor wife was waking up in the morning and starting the day with a headache. “What do you think is causing these headaches honey”,”
We have learned from research the fastest and most effective way to build trust in a relationship. Before getting to the bottom line on building trust, let’s set the stage. You may have heard the expression, “Relationships are complex”. I imagine most people would agree with that statement. In any relationship there are inevitably going to be times when partners feel confused about what just happened in an interaction that went south.
My boyfriend and I rarely fight — and when we do, it seems to always come back to the same issue. I’m a more social person than he is. I like to go to occasional parties together and sometimes host friends at our place. He never wants to go to parties and and doesn’t like to host. We’ve spoken about it, but it continues to come up and be an issue, especially when I ask him to go to parties with me and he refuses. How do I keep this argument from resurfacing?
Why is it that it is so hard to ask for what we want? Allen was feeling pressured. The boss had him working two jobs after Jim left and his position was not refilled. Of course yesterday the car started sounding like a washing machine and losing power on acceleration: that can’t be good.
In this last of three articles on divorce predictors I cover Meta-emotion mismatch and Escalating Anger.
Gottman is well known for his divorce prediction research. In this 2nd of 3 articles I discuss an overlooked/misunderstood predictor: Accepting Influence
The Gottman Research has identified the high risk couples for divorce. There are three predictors that tend to get overlooked when reviewing the Gottman research. I review them in this series of three articles
Stigma, misinformation, and lack of information about addictive disorders is problematic with the public and in the professional communities. That is something we can change.
While it may seem counterintuitive to claim that conflict presents opportunities for greater intimacy, we have learned from relationship research that when partners can raise issues that they are not happy about and both feel listened to and responded to, that is exactly what happens.
The original Gottman Love Lab first opened in 1986 at the University of Washington. The new Love Lab recently opened,