This post is the follow up to last week’s post ” Stop in the Name of Love” which discussed four behaviors which may lead to divorce. The behaviors are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. John Gottman and his team looked at which marriages fail and which ones last. They found that the marriages which made it through hard times included these behaviors:

A) Culture of Appreciation. ( Minimum of 5 times as many positive comments to one negative comment )

B) Soft start up. When a person brings up a potential disagreement it is best to begin with a loving message. Then make specific concerns and requests –  “When _______ happened, I felt ________.  ( Offer Solution ) Would you be willing to try __________ next time? ”

C) Accept responsibility for your part. ” What can I do differently next time? ”

D) Self soothing. If discussions become heated, take a break of 20-60 minutes to lower your heart rate and become less stressed. It is difficult to discuss or decide outcomes while stressed. Agree as a couple to use time outs when necessary. Remember, time outs are to be a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 60.

Will love keep you together? The answer is “Yes” but loving feelings don’t last forever automatically; they require nurturance.  Couples who actively practice behaviors which increase that “loving feeling” are significantly more likely to last. Learning to communicate, manage conflict and appreciate what each person brings to the relationship are proven ways to do just that.

If you are looking for a Couples therapist in the Twin Cities area please contact Trisha Falvey, LMFT