Marriage & Couples

What’s The Issue?

Research indicates that marital satisfaction declines for most couples over the first 5 to 10 years of marriage, bottoming out sometime during the period in which our children are in school. This occurs for many reasons not the least of which is the negative influence of stress from work, maintaining a home, raising children, busy schedules, financial concerns and so forth. The GOOD NEWS is that after successfully navigating this period most couples experience an increase in satisfaction that later in life is actually higher than when the relationship began!

We now have excellent scientific research spanning thirty years that suggests what works in a marriage. Dr. John Gottman, who is probably the most well-known researcher and psychologist in marital relationships has identified several indicators of when a marriage is in trouble. He has also created numerous strategies for how to get the relationship back on track. Following are some of his most important findings:

  • Healthy couples have a ratio of 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction.  
  • About two thirds of the things couples argue about go unresolved. But what is critical is not whether the issues get resolved or not but the quality of the couple’s communication about those issues.
  • Four reactions or methods of handling conflict were identified as particularly destructive of relationships — criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.
  • The inability to defuse conflict or calm down was a predictor of relationship problems.
  • Men are quicker to become overwhelmed emotionally and take longer to calm down.
  • Relationship distress is typically the result of entrenched, negative patterns of interaction. This is when both partners feel strongly about their own viewpoint and are hesitant to compromise, resulting in defensiveness and blaming.

What You Get From Me

A professional opinion on the status of your marriage. Help identifying the negative patterns of interaction. Support in understanding the emotions and needs that are involved in continuing the patterns. Specific strategies for breaking the negative patterns. Techniques for increasing positive interaction. Methods for managing life stressors more successfully.

I'd like to help. Contact me to set up an initial appointment today.