Couple Talk – Importance of Kindness and Fondness,  ‘Turning Towards’ 

∇ Have you become argumentive lately?

∇ Seem to only see the negative in your partner?

∇ Seem to have bad “moods” a lot lately?

∇ Not as happy as the early days in the relationship?

∇ Wonder when things are going to change?

∇ Feel stuck in your relationship?

∇ Feel not as upbeat as usual?

∇ Tired of fighting?

∇ Ponder getting back at your partner?

∇ Think: Hurt ME, and you will hurt MORE!

Well join the club!  53 % Divorce Rate In USA

Wikipedia Divorce Rates Worldwide

Need a fast change to restore your relationship to better times? Read on…

Masters And Disasters

The Gottman Institute studies of Julie and John Gottman along with many other supporting studies¹  say lasting relationships come down to kindness, fondness, turning towards your partner and an active interest in maintaining intimate friendship over the years.

A question came up: Do unhappy marriages share something in common?

Psychologist John and Julie Gottman along with Robert Levenson for the past four decades has studied thousands of couples in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work.

In 1986, John Gottman with his colleague Robert Levenson  and associates, hooked the couples up to measure the subjects’ blood flow, heart rates, and how much they sweat. The hooked up ‘wiggle-monitors’ to determine the edginess of them wiggling in chairs. They establish base rates and then followed along with a research team behind walls monitoring their vital signs. They had the couples talk about their relationship. Such things like: how they met, a major conflict they were facing together, and positive memories they had. Everything was recorded including videotaping.

The data suggested two major groups: the Masters and the Disasters.

Analyzing the data they saw clear differences between the masters and disasters.

The Masters were still happily together after six years.

The Disasters had either broken up or were chronically unhappy in their marriages.

The Disasters

The disasters looked calm during the interviews but their active physiology told important new data understanding relationships.

  • heart rates were quick
  • sweat glands were active
  • blood flow was fast
  • often edginess in wiggling in chairs

Following thousands of couples longitudinally, The Gottman Institute found that the more physiologically active the couples were in the lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time.

Say What?

The disasters showed signs of arousal—of being in fight-or-flight mode—in their relationships. The Limbric brain is involved here. Specifically the amygdala. This also affects impulse control and the anger response. (Anger Management).

Having a conversation sitting next to their spouse was, to their bodies, like facing off with lions and tigers and bears.

Even when they were talking about pleasant or mundane facets of their relationships, they were prepared to attack and be attacked. This sent their heart rates soaring and made them more aggressive toward each other.

An example: The couple could be talking about how their days had gone, and a highly aroused wife might say to her husband, “Why don’t you start talking about your day. It won’t take you very long.” A put down indeed. This then distances the couple, perhaps the feeling of being disrespected and an anger response arises, even if not expressed.

The Masters

The masters, by contrast, showed low physiological arousal.

They felt:

  • calm and connected together
  • Their vital signs were more normal or returned to normal quickly if aroused
  • translated into warm and affectionate behavior even if they argued.

It’s not that the masters had a better physiological make-up than the disasters. The masters had created a climate of trust and intimacy that made both of them more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.

Professor Gottman wanted to know more about how the masters created that culture of love and intimacy, and how the disasters squashed it.

In 1990, he designed a lab on the University of Washington campus looking like a bed and breakfast apartment deemed “The Love Lab”.  He invited 130 newlywed couples, each couple one at a time, to spend the day at this retreat and watched and recorded as before everything normal couples do: arrive, put up groceries, eat, chat, cook, clean, listen to music, hang out, etc.

Professor Gottman and his team, made a critical discovery in this study. It identified why some relationships thrive while others wither.

Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.”

One of John’s favorite examples from my training with them:

The wife who is a bird enthusiast notices a bluebird flying across the yard and finds a perch on a branch. She says quietly to her husband eating cereal while watching TV, “Look …a bluejay outside!” He is apparently absorbed and says nothing to her.

Question: What does the wife feel from this interaction?

Happy?
Sad?
Mad?
Invisible?
Not heard?
Disrespected?
Disconnected?

Joyful?

No… she might feel: Invisible, Not heard, Disrespected, Disconnected

The wife is not just commenting on the bluebird, she is requesting a response from her husband, a sign of interest or support, hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The husband missed his chance with no response. He is effect “turned away.” Silence, no response.

REWIND: How would he “turn towards”?

Professor Gottman suggests the husband grunt, “Huh?” or better “Wow, a sign spring is here.”  I suggest: Put down the cereal and come over and look beside your wife holding her, perhaps better, a hug from behind, a bit of playfulness and a kiss on the cheek.

CHOOSE:  Respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” .

Though the bird-bid might seem minor, it actually reveals a lot about the health of their relationship.

People (Masters) who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t, (Disasters) those who turned away, would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy.

The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

By observing these types of interactions, Professor Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples—straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or not, will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later. Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship.

Couples who practice kindness and generosity stay together. (Masters)

Couples who practice contempt, criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and hostility mostly breakup or are unhappy. (Disasters)

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in our training. Masters are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. I call it the 3 A’s. Appreciate, Acknowledge, Acceptance.

Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

  1. criticism
  2. defensiveness
  3. contempt
  4. stonewalling

Contempt is the number one factor that tears couples apart.

1. Couples who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 % of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there. People who give their partner the cold shoulder (avoidance or putting up walls) choosing to  ignore their partner or responding minimally, damage their relationship by making their partner feel invisible, alone, as if they’re not there, and/or not valued.

Being mean is the death of relationships.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is  the death of relationships.

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together.

Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, validated and feel loved, connected. The more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.

Masters tend to think about kindness as a muscle. Exercise it to keep it in shape. A good relationship requires consistent mindfulness and hard work.

When your partner expresses a need (bid) even if you are emotionally not available or tired, or stressed, you still turn toward your partner.

Do not ignore the small moments of emotional connection or they will slowly wear away at your relationship. Neglect creates distance between partners and breeds resentment in the one who is being ignored.

Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on your relationship. This is the time to remember kindness and learn to disengage before things get ugly. Successful couples know and practice this.

ACTION:

1. Make a list of 5 Acts Of Kindness You Will Do Today, each day.

2. 3 A’s. Appreciate, Acknowledge, Acceptance. How? Practice.

See Blog on Practice Not Quarreling.

 

The Sound Relationship House (C) Gottman Institute Used With Permission. Do Not Reproduce.

The Sound Relationship House (C) Gottman Institute Used With Permission. Do Not Reproduce.

 

 

 

Need Relationship Help?

Have Couples Conflict?

CONTACT: 

Director Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Michele Weiner-Davis Divorce Busting Level I ​
Gottman Seven Principles Program Educator
Gottman Method Couple Therapy Level 1 Certificate of Completion
Certified ​MHS ​Bar-On Emotional Intelligence​ EQ-i 2.0 ​Provider
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers

Atlanta Anger Management
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 678-576-1913
Fax: 1-866-551-1253
Web: www.atlantaangermanagement.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

Linked in:http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtayloraam

#1 Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence

 

SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP IS IN TROUBLE

SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP IS IN TROUBLE 8


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Smart Tip: Get help when things start going downhill. Nip things in the bud.
 
 

“Couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help,” said John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and executive director of The Gottman Research Institute in Seattle. 1

 
Many couples never seek any help and either break up or head to a divorce attorney.
 
The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Sixty-seven percent of all second marriages end in divorce and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.2
 
Fifty percent of all children are children of divorce. 40.8% of all children are born of never married parents. 3
 
Divorce is expensive.
 

“It’s a lot more expensive to maintain two separate households and you’re having to do it on the same amount of income,” said Jeff Landers, CDFA, President of Bedrock Divorce Advisors in New York.

 
The impact of divorce is huge in their own lives and that of their children.
 
When children have a hard time, boys and girls suffer equally. They differ in how they suffer. Boys are more externally symptomatic acting out their anger, frustration and hurt. Boys may get into trouble in school; fight more with peers and parents. Girls tend to internalize their distress. They may become depressed, develop headaches, stomach aches, and have changes in their eating and sleeping patterns. Aggressive anger or passive anger is often felt and acted out.
 

What should people experiencing relationship/marriage problems do?
 

Get help when things start going downhill. Nip things in the bud.
 
 

Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony. 4

 
 
Hotu-240px

Signs Of Trouble:

 
1 You’re Thinking About Having An Affair – STOP!
 

Having an affair outside the marriage/relationship does not solve your unhappiness.
Fact is affairs create unintended problems, generating a life of their own with unintended consequences no one can anticipant. It is not worth it. Stop the mental projections, the wishing immediately when they come up. Change your focus back towards your partner and seek help if you cannot work things out.
 
Bear in mind that counselors varying greatly on what they actually are committed to helping you accomplish.
Some have the goal of saving the relationship/marriage and is the driving point of their work; others maintain a goal of separate partner (individual) bliss. Divorce/Separation for the later is often guaranteed. Know your counselor point of view and goals before engaging them. Ask for a disclosure. Ask an open ended question like: ‘What is your main goal when working with couples with problems?’
 
Try and figure out if the counselor/anger management expert:
 
A. Fight for relationship/marriage at all costs
B. Main concern of the work is individual happiness and wellbeing
 
Instead of talk therapy, check out Anger ManagementCouples Conflict Management.
Atlanta Anger Management Couples Conflict Management is not talk therapy counseling.
 
It is client education and training re-framing the relationship patterns, enhancing assertive communication and active listening. It is increasing awareness of anger and other negative emotions triggers and hot buttons to understand relationship dynamics and handle them in a more productive way. It is changing destructive behavior patterns into more positive relationship patterns that are sustainable. It is not a short term fix but a new way of being/living. It is maintaining an exciting new way of being. Commit to being a “Creative Partner Invested In Positive Change”6.
 
Affairs Continued…
 
Once emotional or sexual involvement goes outside a marriage, the issues needing to be addressed become background issues.
 
Problems magnify and get worse:
 
• Lies
• Not doing what you say – See: Be Impeccable
• Broken promises
• Deceit
• Guilt
• Building Walls of separation
• Avoidance
• Less time spend together
• Shame
• Increased suspicions
• Trust erodes
• Responsibility diminishes
• Character flaws are magnified
• Love is crushed and turns to contempt
• I do not care anymore = death of relationship
 
If you’re considering being unfaithful, it signals something is wrong with your relationship.
Ask yourself and be honest. “Can I resist temptation?”
 
If someone threw themselves on me … Can I resist without thought because I am totally committed to my partner. This is what is needed even if you are fighting right now.
 
Remember: Any indiscretion is always found out. The Truth always is found out. The News verifies this daily.
 
There are solutions to your problems. Call Richard Taylor 678.576.1913
 
2 You Fight About The Same Thing Over and Over and Over
 
You should know with a 50% chance of marriage lasting that Marriage and Conflict happening is not if but when. Arguing from time to time is perfectly normal and is expected. That is not a problem. The problem is outlined with further points below.
Accept The Unsolvable
 
According to relationship scientist John Gottman, 69% of relationship conflicts are persistent problems, meaning they revolve around issues that tend to resurface no matter how long you’ve been together. If you find a problem seems to call up painful emotions, you’re looking at one that’s persistent.1
 
To stop this trouble from ruining your relationship, you’ll need to address the bigger issues underlying your difficulty. Take turns discussing with your partner what this loaded issue really means to you. When your partner is talking, your job is to listen, be nonjudgmental and to find something in her/his perspective that makes sense to you. When it’s your turn to talk, she/he should be doing the same thing. By treading more gently into touchy areas, you should at least be able to agree to disagree or make some small concessions for one another. Accept that some things are not solvable. It is best to not talk about it. Couples who have been together a long time have embraced this concept and saved their marriage by doing so.
 
Couples who focus on the negatives in their relationship surely self destruct.1
 
It is best to practice LIVING IN THE MOMENT and not bringing up the past. Live right now. Also do not project these beliefs into the future. Say: “ That was then, this is now.” All I can experience is right now. Work on catching negative thoughts and choose to ‘change the channel” with positive thoughts. Like “What is it I like most about my partner?” Focus with intention for 10-30 seconds on the good to help imprint it on the brain to rewire it.
 
3 Spending Less Time Together
 
 

“The number one cause for the breakdown in marriages today is couples aren’t spending enough time together.” 7 – Michele Weiner Davis

 
 
Everything is more important than setting aside sacred time for one another. Whether it’s work, kids, meetings, clubs, church, temple, friends, working out, hobbies, golf, sports, TV, social media, relatives, and so on, everything seems to take precedence over the relationship. When this happens, couples stop being friends and their emotional connection suffers. They begin leading separate lives. The often become housemates.
 
Marriage will remain in danger unless you change this. Make it your joint mission to re-establish couple time together and family time together. Perhaps real meals rather than fast food eating. Outdoor activities help relieve stress and help bonding. Put away your cell phones, texting, listening to “your” music. Embrace being present to those around you. Get out of yourself and into your relationships. You can choose to change. But no one can make you. Each person has to decide to let others in.
 
4 Talking About Superficial Topics
 

Communication is one of the keys to lasting relationships.
 
Partners often have different needs when it comes to talking. Often guys like to talk “about” things, while women like to often talk about their emotions and the meaning of things, events, family, deeper conversations that force us to think, feel, emote and define our beliefs. This is often harder work than the surface talk.
 
The “talker” in the marriage/relationship often feels let down, hurt, frustrated and alone because their partner does not participate willingly in the dialogue.
 
The “talker” sometimes talks about their needs and what needs fixing in the relationship which results in the partner shutting down and wants to disengage in the conversation. These produce avoidance, putting up walls and further shuts down communication. The result is negative feelings that might include frustration, isolation, uncooperativeness, unhappiness, loneliness, not being connected and depression.
Having these talks of the heart is needed to promote intimacy, acceptance, reliance, love, safety and security. Maybe even the feeling of feeling cherished. Being reluctant to engage in these conversations put your relationship at risk.
 
Unmet needs and boundary violations are the two main reasons anger is often felt and expressed.
 
So conversations discussing important matters about finances, your own feelings, loved ones, future plans and goals, what is working and not working, behavior change requests, etc are vastly important. Couples usually are able to move into these conversations in their 30’s and on. Not having them can make the relationship seem superficial, light and not very serious. Many, many people remain adolescent in their self development no matter what age they are. They are just not willing to do any self growth work.
 
5 Escalating Fights
 

Often we find our vocabulary limited and we rely on the same expression over and over and our conversations repeat themselves. He/she says the same thing, she/he responds always in the same way. We are on a gerbil round treadmill repeating the same relationship dynamics. We hear ourselves say…”Oh no, here we go again!”
 
This often leads to anger, contempt and withdrawal. Avoidance is a key destructive interaction in relationships.
 
Pay attention and notice if you are having the same fights.
 
If these arguments are growing in intensity you must act and do something about them. Seek outside professional help very soon, not six years from now! Sometimes these escalating fights manifest into either verbal abuse or physical abuse.
 
Rule #1 In Anger Management: Do Not Touch Your Partner When Angry. You Will Get Arrested.
 
Both verbal abuse or physical abuse are destructive to lasting relationships so act and get help.
 
Aggressive Communication Style often has components of:
 
Inattention

• Interrupting

• Control

• Manipulation

• Intimidation

• Hostility
 
These ongoing ever repeating fights or arguments definitely showcase that deeper underlying issues are not being addressed. Most often communication skills are lacking that healthy couples have. These communication skills can be learned so that unresolved issues can be worked through. We offer help in communication skills. Inquire.
 
6 Having Little Or No Sex
 
Usually one partner has a lower sex drive than the other partner. In other words one partner wants sex more often than the other. The problem arises when the partner with the lower sex drive refuses their spouse’s feelings and rejects most, if not all, sexual advances.
 
Often this results in hurt feelings, frustration, rejection, feeling unwanted, feeling deflated, emotionally disconnected, angry and desperate.
 
If this goes on too long be wary of one partner disconnecting and becoming removed. Intimacy ends. This can often lead to infidelity. Even if only emotional infidelity.
 
Divorce also happens.
 
Once you experience these feelings, many things can happen. You stop enjoying each other’s company, spending time together, connecting emotionally, and being friends. If you don’t do something about it the death of the relationship often results. Or you become housemates for the duration with little empathy or love for the other. You move into existence mode. This is unnatural and not healthy, especially when children are involved.
 
I have helped many couples that are sleeping in separate bedrooms, in essence co-existing.
 
If this is a religious decision of sexual abstinence that is a choice and is healthy and a positive thing, but most people are not in that situation. It is isolation, alienation that causes it.
 
If a spouse is not getting enough sex, or would like more frequency while the other not, you both need to examine the reasons it’s happening. If might be necessary get professional help in Sex Therapy. Do whatever it takes to re-create passion and intimacy in your marriage. Action is called for.
 

7 Focusing more on kids than each other
 
Fact: Empty Nesters are still divorcing in droves. Once the children leave home, the relationship often feels overwhelmingly void.9
Today’s American culture (and many others) has become very Child Centric; meaning making our children our number one priority placing them in the center of our lives.
 
Everything is about our children.
 
Often when we live this way, our marriages suffer. It is hard to follow the sage wisdom: God First, Spouses Second, Children Third, Parents Fourth. 10
 
Be careful to not feel more connected to your children than your partner. Doing so often disconnects us from our spouses, resulting in us becoming strangers. This empties the marriage of intimacy.
 
Making the marriage the most important thing in your lives is the best thing you can do for your children. Your children benefit enormously when you have loving close relationship, as it models what a good marriage is, giving them the image framework to repeat it in their own adult lives.
It also helps marital longevity more likely.
 
TIP: Analyze your family life. Are you on auto pilot? Are you placing your relationship to God 1st, Spouse 2nd, Children 3rd, Parents 4th? If not, try to change as this will put your marriage on a better path towards lasting fulfillment.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” – Heraclitus 3

 

QUESTIONS:

 
Do you see yourself in any of the above?
 
Do you see partner in any of the above?
 
Do you admit you might need to tweak some things?
 
Great. Awareness is the first key to change and make things better.
 
Do not be static, stuck and remain in your relationship patterns.
 
Do something.
 
Take a positive step and invest in your relationship/marriage, It is worth the cost of money, time, effort and growth.

Change is the only constant. All is flux, nothing is stationary. Everything flows and nothing stays. 3 – Heraclitus

Be exceptional and do not wait years, 2013 is the year. Heed these warnings if you are living them.
 
Make the call to Richard Taylor of Atlanta Anger Management at 678.576.1913
 
When you do, your marriage/relationship will be a healthier, happier place to be and you will live longer due to less stress. Really.
 
 
CONTACT
Director Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers
Atlanta Anger Management
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA
Office Phone: 678-576-1913
Fax: 1-866-551-1253
Web: http://www.atlantaangermanagement.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com
Linked in:http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtayloraam

A Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence
 
At Atlanta Anger Management, Atlanta, GA  Anger Management is offered:

_______________________________________________________

References:
1. The Gottman Research Institute
2. Leo Averbach, Author, Breakup: Enduring Divorce; BreakupAid
Follow Leo Averbach on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Breakupwriter
3. Heritage Foundation – America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty
4. Heraclitus – Ηράκλειτος (Herakleitos; Heraclitus) of Ephesus (c.535 BC – 475 BC) was a Greek philosopher
Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.
5. Ancient version of the Taijitu (太極圖), origins from Lai Zhi-De (來知德) alias Lai Qu-Tang (來瞿唐) 1525-1604). Black and white swirls around a transparent circle.
6. “Creative Partners Invested In Positive Change” © Richard Taylor 2009
7. Michele Weiner-Davis MSW http://www.divorcebusting.com/
8. Michele Weiner-Davis MSW http://www.divorcebusting.com/
9. Empty Nests and Empty Marriages
10. Happy Wives Club