Why are some couples thriving in their marriage and some barely surviving?
The answer could be in figuring out if the couple is a “marriage master” or a “marriage disaster” as described by Dr. John Gottman, world-renowned therapist who developed the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Dr. Gottman, a clinician, researcher, and author, is known for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy
This method is extremely effective when working with couples on ways to communicate so both spouses can feel heard, seen and validated, resolve conflicts respectfully, deepen friendship and cultivate an atmosphere of respect and appreciation.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & a Relationship Expert in Florida, it is the method that I primarily use when counseling couples. This method, along with my numerous other relationship trainings, taught me the knowledge and skills that are needed to transform relationships. These valuable and practical tools are what is needed for committed couples to increase closeness and connection, learn how to communicate effectively, as well as increase intimacy, affection, and appreciation.
The reason that I love the Gottman Method is because couples learn in therapy how to communicate so they can understand each other on a deeper level. When they have understanding and empathy for their spouse their conflicts sound different. Why? Because they are spoken to with respect and each person tries to understand each other’s perspective instead of yelling, cursing, being critical and only listening to defend your own point of view. This method is effective at changing the pattern of explosive conflicts into a pattern of communicating feelings and looking at your spouse’s opposing views in a calmer, clearer, respectful way.
Dr. Julie Gottman says, “You can throw spears at your partner. Or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.” My question for you is, “Which path are you and your spouse currently taking? Do you want to stay on that path or would you like the opportunity for a detour?”
What is a Marriage Master and a Marriage Disaster?
Dr. John Gottman says, “Marriage Masters are scanning the social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. Marriage Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”
Marriage masters have the elements of mutual respect, deep friendship, trust, commitment in their marriage. They are gentle and kind to one another. Romance, intimacy, playfulness, affection, and laughter create a positive climate. Together the couple creates a safe environment for each spouse to be vulnerable and share. Marriage Masters know they can have opposing opinions and that’s ok. They know how to talk it out and to listen to each other’s perspective. They will still argue but it will be with more respect and a repair. They turn towards their partner’s bids for connection and they hold their relationship as top priority.
Marriage disasters notice criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling in their relationship. These four negative behaviors are toxic to your relationship. The Gottmans call these behaviors the Four Horseman and they need to be eliminated from your marriage.
Dr. John Gottman says, “In a good relationship, people get angry, but in a very different way. The Marriage Masters see a problem like a soccer ball. They kick it around a bit. It’s “our” problem”.
Think about your own marriage….
Are you looking for the positives and expressing appreciation or are you looking for the negatives and pointing it out in criticism and contempt? This makes a big difference in how you view your partner and how you view the overall relationship.
Would you say you and your spouse sit in the positives and are marriage masters or sit in the negative and at this time are marriage disasters?
A Marriage Challenge
I challenge you to shift your focus for a week and see what happens. Look for all the positives in your spouse and your marriage. Do you notice a small step in the positive direction of your marriage? Or are you both so stuck in the negatives that is hard to focus on the positives? Is this challenge something that was easy for you to do or was it a huge struggle?
How Can a Couple Achieve the Goal of Being Marriage Masters?
There can be hope by gaining the tools and by making sure your marriage is nurtured. One way to do that is by working with a relationship expert.
If you are committed to the relationship and want to successfully go from being marriage disasters to masters, then work with me to build your relationship toolbelt.
For almost two decades, I have helped thousands of couples become marriage masters. If you would like to learn more about me, visit my Meet Michelle page. If you live in Florida and want to hear what I can do for your relationship, contact me. I transform relationships, one relationship at a time and yours can be next.
I will end with another quote from Dr. Julie Gottman, “Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express anger, but the kindness informs how we choose to express the anger.”
Your Relationship Expert,