Certainty is the cage that keeps us safe from curiosity. I've been released from the cage. I am the songbird and I am flying for the window. I know it's closed but I plan on breaking through. – Charlie Coté, Jr. (1987-2005)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are You a Master or Disaster of Marriage?

World renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, John Gottman has thirty-five years of breakthrough research on marriage. He describes the Masters vs. Disasters in Marriage. He and his wife Julie Schwartz Gottman co-founded The Gottman Relationship Institute and are the authors of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, among other helpful marriage enrichment materials.

The Four Horsemen Disasters:

1. Criticism: stating the problem as a defect in the character of the partner 
2. Defensiveness: warding off a perceived attack with blame-shifting or whining
3. Contempt: any statement made to a partner from a superior place, insults, name-calling
4. Stonewalling: listener withdrawal, tuning out, elevated heart rate

The Four Horsemen Masters:

1. Gentle & Responsible
2. Curious & Interested
3. Respectful
4. Open, Honest, & Self-soothing

Every relationship experiences conflict and alienation. Repairing is a key factor with Masters. "I'm sorry. I blew it. Can we talk about it?" The quality of friendship and response of recipient is important as well, along with a sense of shared meaning and purpose.

The ratio of positive to negative interaction is significant as well (5:1), as the following video explains.

Important to have five positives to every negative. Gottman's ratio.

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