Making Relationships Work

October 21st, 2008

I’ve been reading up on Couples Therapy lately.  It’s quite interesting what a specific researcher is saying.  Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington in Seattle has been researching couples for years.  He has found the qualities that make or break a couple – and they’re not what we’ve come to expect.

For example, active listening skills, aka “I-Statements”, while very useful with psychotherapists, are not the hallmark of successful, long-term relationships.  Nor is the absence of arguing and conflict.  One thing he has learned is that it’s the nature of the conflict…or the way in which couples disagree, that demonstrates the health of the relationship.  Feelings, emotions, and the ability to come together again are important.  Of course, a foundation of fondness and admiration is also key.

To learn more about his work, read “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver.  It’s an easy read and quite enlightening. 

One caveat!  It appears that Dr. Gottman has studied heterosexual couples only.  Therefore, perhaps some of the principles don’t apply to same-sex couples.  In any case, I think there’s valuable information here for all.

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