- Are you finding yourself fighting with your partner over the same issues
- Does every small matter blow up into an argument
- Do you feel hopeless and scared for the future of your relationship
- Do you feel like you can’t communicate with your partner
- Are you repeatedly feeling shut out or attacked by your partner
What do the Experts Have to Say
John and Julie Gottman has spent the last 40 years looking at what makes couples happy and what prevents couples from having lasting relationships. What they have found is that happy couples argue at a ratio of 20:1, meaning twenty good exchanges for one argument. Whereas couples in unhappy relationships will argue at a ratio of 5:1 and couples on the verge of separation argue at a ratio of 1:1.
Not only is it important to continually engage in encounters and experiences to strengthen your bond, but it is equally important to learn effective ways of communication and resolving conflict.
Gottman notes that couples that draw on the “Four Horseman” during arguments are more likely to have their relationship end within 5 years of marriage. Also did you know that the first three minutes of your argument will predict it’s outcome.
John Gottman’s Four Horseman
- Contempt-attacking with an intention to insult
- Defensiveness- seeing yourself as the victim, blaming partner
- Criticism- attacking your partner’s personality or character
- Stonewalling-shutting down all together, going silent, this is the most dangerous of the stances, since couples usually disengage and stop trying to “remedy” their relationship.
How Can a Marriage Therapist Help
Having specialized training in the Gottman method of couples’ counselling, I can support you to tackle the negative patterns of conflict resolution in your relationship. I can help you to engage in more effective communication strategies with your partner. If you naturally hold your partner in contempt, I can support you to learn to appreciate them in moments of tension. If you find yourself getting heated quickly in arguments and reverting to criticisms, it might be important to learn strategies to have softer start-ups. If you find that you naturally become defensive and are looking to blame your partner for their faults, it will be important to work on taking responsibility for your actions. If you find that you often feel overwhelmed when in arguments and tend to shut down, it will be important to begin to develop physiological soothing techniques.
Hannah Esmaili-Counselling2Wellness Inc. 2896 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke, ON 416-999-8618