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Notes From a Relationship Expert

What makes for a great marriage and what spoils a marriage?  These are some notes from Eric Barker's post on a conversation with John Gottman, author of 40 books, and counselor for over 40 years. "The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems - And How To Fix Them".

Four things that ruin your relationship:

  1. Criticism (pointing out flaws in your partner)
  2. Defensiveness (reacting by counterattacking or playing the victim to perceived criticism)
  3. Stonewalling (tuning out and not caring)
Three things that help your relationship:
  1. Knowing your partner inside/out (by engaging in curious intimacy and self-disclosure)
  2. Responding to and engaging with your partner (not ignoring but seeking to sync up with)
  3. Admiration (thinking about and expressing thoughts about them that are gracious and positive)
The best predictor of your relationship's future is the couple's "story of us":
  • negative or positive?
  • discontent or cherish?
  • resentment or gratitude?
The most important aspect to a healthy relationship is acceptance:
  • Accepting one's own responsibility
  • Accepting listening (stopping to unconditionally listen)
  • Two-thirds of disagreements will never be resolved through arguments (love as acceptance)

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