What Makes Marriage Work?

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/what-makes-marriage-work

Fighting, when it airs grievances and complaints, can be one of the healthiest things a couple can do for their relationship. Your relationship will improve if you approach your spouse with precise complaints rather than attacking your partner’s personality or character.

it is that a lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship.we grow in our relationships by reconciling our differences. That’s how we become more loving people and truly experience the fruits of marriage

there are three different styles of problem solving into which healthy marriages tend to settle:
o Validating. Couples compromise often and calmly work out their problems to mutual satisfaction as they arise.
o Volatile. Conflict erupts often, resulting in passionate disputes. (There are couples whose fights are as deafening as thunder yet who have long-lasting, happy relationships.) (key is the balance between their positive and negative feelings and actions toward each other.)
o Conflict-avoiding. Couples agree to disagree, rarely confronting their differences head-on.

Some ways
1. Rather than engaging in shouting matches, they dealt with their disagreements by having “conferences” in which each aired his or her perspective.
2. When tension did arise, both considered solo jogging more helpful in soothing the waters than talking things out or arguing.
3. That magic ratio is 5 to 1. As long as there is five times as much positive feeling and interaction between husband and wife as there is negative, the marriage was likely to be stable over time.
4. Being able to predict what emotions and reactions lead a couple into trouble is crucial to improving a marriage’s chances.
5. four things should be avoided :
(a.) criticism : do not attack someone’s personality or character rather than a specific behavior
(b.) contempt : the best way to neutralize it is to stop seeing arguments with your spouse as a way to retaliate or exhibit your superior moral stance {symptoms : they rarely complimented each other anymore or expressed mutual admiration or attraction (try to get this right)}
(c.) defensiveness : The first step toward breaking out of defensiveness is to no longer see your partner’s words as an attack but as information that is being strongly expressed. Try to understand and empathize with your partner. (If you are genuinely open and receptive when your partner is expecting a defensive response, he or she is less likely to criticize you or react contemptuously when disagreements arise.)
(d.) stonewalling : Stonewallers do not seem to realize that it is a very powerful act: It conveys disapproval, icy distance, and smugness.

Tips
1. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, make a deliberate effort to calm yourself.
2. keep in mind that defensiveness is a two-way street; if you start speaking nondefensively, you will lessen your partner’s need to be defensive.
3. Instead of attacking or ignoring your partner’s point of view, you try to see the problem from his or her perspective and show that you think his or her viewpoint may have some validity.

1. Try to make comments about the communication process itself, such as “Please let me finish,” or “We’re getting off the topic,” or “That hurt my feelings.”
2. Comment on what’s happening while it’s taking place, not afterward.
3. Remind your partner that you admire and empathize with them despite the conflict.
4. Use phrases such as “Yes, I see,” “Uh huh,” or “Go on.” These are little psychological strokes at which stable couples are masters.

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