Monday, June 18, 2012

Wheel of Life - Relationships

Do you remember when I was mod podging the covers of a couple of books about relationships?  Well, this is one of those books that I was reading.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver

Despite being very happy in my relationship with my husband, I learned a few things from this book that I am plan to implement.  There's always room for improvement, right?

Dr. Gottman's main theme stated that "happy marriages are based on a deep friendship,...a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other's company," and when speaking about couples that "their positive thoughts about each other and their marriage are so pervasive that they tend to supersede their negative feelings."

I won't regurgitate the entire book, but here are some of the key points that I took away from it:

Solving Problems

When you are going to bring up areas of conflict, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Soften your startup.  Don't start off by accusing or sniping at your partner.  Instead, try to ease into your conversation, and definitely avoid being hostile or accusatory.


2.  Learn to make and receive repair attempts.  Usually, these are attempts by either partner to add some levity to a disagreement or to prevent the argument from getting into ugly territory.  Often this can be a funny statement or even just a request to get back on topic or take a break.


3.  Soothe yourself and each other.  If you start to feel overwhelmed by the discussion, let your partner know you need a break.  When you feel the fight or flight response of a conflict, it takes a good 20 minutes to effectively remove the chemicals from your body and allow yourself to relax.  So take 20 minutes, listen to music or deep breath before returning to the discussion.


4.  Compromise.  Even if you are convinced that you are right (any you may be, who's to say), the only way to manage your conflicts is to compromise.  It's fine and dandy to be always right, but is it worth your marriage?  Of course not.  Work on making trade-offs.


5.  Be tolerant of each other's faults.  Neither one of you is perfect.  (No really, you're not.)  Focus on what you love about each other and designate your faults into the cute or quaint category.  Maybe even be thankful that someone loves you, flaws and all.


My favourite tip is to treat your spouse "with the same respect you offer to company."  This is the one of the pieces of advice that rang most true for me.  If someone came into my home and knocked over a cup of coffee, I would be all over myself trying to make them feel less bad about it.  Why in the world would I not do the same for my spouse?  Why would I feel like I need to be disparaging, "Great, now I have to clean up this mess because you're careless"?  Instead I should be making a real effort to be more polite and loving under these circumstances.


I would definitely recommend this book.  I found several helpful nuggets of wisdom in it.  So much so that the first person who comments that they would like the book (Canada or U.S., sorry, shipping elsewhere is a killer) will get my beat-up, highlighted copy mailed to them. (yes, the copy with the mod podged front in all of its, uh, attractive glory).


Pam @Threading My Way said...

Excellent advice, Terry... all six points!!! Sounds like a good book. Postage to the other side of the world is very costly. I know because I buy fabric from the US... LOL!!!

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Just so your readers know... I'm not from Canada or U.S., so the book is still available to the next person to comment.

Carol-Anne said...

What a lot of great advice here! I really need this kind of thing....once your kids grow up and leave home, you realize you need to focus more on your marriage, no matter how good it is. That's the stage we're at!

Tina Bradley said...

A lot of great advice, Terry. Sounds like a most worthy read. Enjoy your day! T.

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Guess I'm going to have to find that book on my own!! It does look like a good one and like you said...there's always room for improvement! Thanks for sharing some highlights and thanks for doing this wheel of life series! It's a good one!

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

Sounds like an awesome book! I like your pointer #1!!

Adrianne Surian said...

Really interesting, Terry! I will have to check this book out. The clash we seem to have is finding a way to really share space equally - when we got married, Kevin moved into "my" condo with all of "my" things. I didn't realize for a long time that he felt that way, and that I was also unintentionally acting that way "no, honey, those go here, that's where I've always put them." So that is my wheel task on this topic.

Unknown said...

Great tips!! And Lucky Carol-Ann to get the book in all it's modge Podged glory. :) I really like #3 I didn't know it took that long for us to calm back down. I really dislike conflict so my first reaction is to run the other way.:) Witch drives JP nuts, because I could happily never revisit any touchy subject.:) That is what I will be working on in this area of the wheel.:)

Mindy said...

Yeah, the hardest part is actually TAKING the advice and DOING it! I liked the spilled coffee one. I've heard that point of view before, but I think it's the hardest to implement. Saying please and thank you falls into that category and we forget to do such a simple thing to those closest to us. Good reminder.

Magic Love Crow said...

I am not married, but I do agree that these are all great tips ;o) Take Care ;o)

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