The quality of the daily friendship determines the success of the couple handling conflict
(part of the Couples’ Program) by Michael Grinder
Perhaps because I naturally avoid conflict, I always sought conflict resolution techniques. Especially in my marriage.
Then I read, studied and attended Dr. John Gottman’s book and program, Seven Principles to Making Marriage Work. Gottman, as leading researcher on marital satisfaction and longevity, set me straight. Conflict resolution is not necessarily essential for a long-lasting and deeply satisfying relationship. Screaming is OK!
The quality of the daily friendship determines the success of the couple handling conflict. Simply put, positive sentiment overrides negative feelings. The following three ingredients build the friendship:
- Love Map: How well do you know your partner’s map of their world?
Asking open-ended questions and being an interested listener lets the spouse know their partner’s map of the world. Once you know your partner’s map, instead of saying, “How was your day?” you can be more specific, “You had a big meeting today with HR- how did it go?” The more specific you are in asking about your partner’s day, the closer they feel towards you.
- Fondness & Admiration: Do you give love the way they want to receive love?
Say a lot of “I appreciate….” Affection, respect and honor. Use the concept of Language of Love – give love the way your mate wants it (not the way you would want it).
- Bids: How often do you invite communication?
Bids are an invitation to communicate/respond. Bids can be verbal (“Did you hear the news that…”) and non-verbal (extending out a hand might invite the person to hold hands). Daily responding to bids for attention, affection, humor or support are important. Emotional connection is the basis for romance, passion and a good sex life. It is critical for the husband to be influenced by his wife. Intercourse has two definitions: dialogue and being amorous. They are directly connected: one precedes the other.
As a male, sometimes I am not personally interested in what Gail wants to share about her day, but I am interested, very interested in my marriage – that is why I listen. I constantly work on having Gail influence me.
Which of these three ingredients do you want to work on?
These three ingredients are like deposits in your matrimonial bank account. The more friendship the relationship has the more negative times are handled with GRACE. It is OK to scream when the friendship has had deposits.
Want more – attend “To Love, to Honor, and to Negotiate” our workshop for couples.