Become a “Master” not a “Disaster” in Relationships

As I was watching the new sitcom “Splitting Up Together”, I noticed many traits depicting “disasters” of relationships. Gottman research revealed that there are specific behaviors that lead to couples’ relationships breaking down. For those of you that do not know, the basis for the show is a couple that has decided to get divorced but due to financial reasons must continue to live together. The couple starts out strong at the beginning of their relationship but once they have kids and everyday life gets busy, their relationship begins to deteriorate. While watching their interactions, I saw the husband living his own life and as Gottman phrases it “not turning toward”. It is so important to respond to bids for attention. When your significant other engages you, make a point to listen and take an interest. Also, I observed the wife saying many things that were critical and at times contemptuous. Criticism and contempt are 2 of Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  For example, “You never help around the house” which can lead to contempt and viewing your partner as lazy or selfish.  An antidote to contempt is to focus on the positive aspects of your significant other. Nurturing fondness and admiration that enhances your relationship is crucial. In the show, you see both of them start to realize their roles in the deterioration of their marriage. Maybe it’s not too late! According to Gottman, even relationships that are in peril, can be saved with the right intervention. Taken from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I recommend this book and I will be teaching a workshop based on the principles in August.

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