The Science of Marital Compromise: Tips for Avoiding Marital Discord
All relationships take work and your marriage is likely one of the most important relationships in your life. So important that you should not expect it to coast on autopilot for the next 40 or 50 years believing that all will be fine as you approach your marital golden years.The Gottman Institute agrees. Co-founded by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, the team applies scientific concepts to the art of marriage. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the Gottman's assist couples and health care professionals by applying intensive, detailed and long-term scientific theories as to why marriages succeed or fail.
The Institute offers in-depth counseling and training rooted in scientific research to enhance communication between couples. The Gottman’s strongly believe that if communication breaks down, couples may find themselves contacting an experienced divorce attorney.
Even if your marriage is rolling along, both doctors believe there is always room for improvement and offer the following tips to keep the lines of communication open:
Bad behavior has no place in any relationship no matter what wedding anniversary you may be celebrating. By refusing to accept hurtful behavior early in the relationship, the ground rules have been set.
Think Before You Speak
Each spouse should always be in “edit mode”. Avoid critical remarks even when having the smallest of discussions. Remember once the remark has rolled off your tongue it is literally impossible to retract.
Take it Easy
When a spouse feels the need to open a dialogue, leave the critical or contemptuous words in the dictionary. The initiating spouse should approach it from their standpoint without ever verbally attacking their partner.
Step Away from Your Soapbox
If you find yourself on the receiving end of criticism, push aside your emotions and opinions and take a moment to view if from your partner’s standpoint. Give your undivided attention and let your spouse know that you understand and are open to their suggestions.
Compromise / Compromise
Each partner is 50 percent of a team. If there is an issue, find common ground and work together to achieve positive results. Remember if there is a problem, you are more than likely one half of the problem.
Take a Breather
If a reasonably calm discussion becomes a bit heated, take a break. The problem can wait. There is no need to raise either spouse's stress level. A 20 minute break can calm sweaty palms and heart palpitations. Remove yourself both physically and mentally from the discussion but do not stew in your own juices or spend 20 minutes planning your counterattack.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
A humorous remark can stop an argument dead in its tracks. Often a giggle from the opposing spouse can be contagious and easily set the tone for a more diplomatic discussion.
Positive thoughts and actions trumps negativity. Offer positive affirmations and see how fast a compromise is reached or the argument dissipates.
Not everyone deals with conflict in the same manner nor are their problem-solving skills jointly in tune. Research results from the Gottman Institute supports that communication is key even if there are significant differences in the resolution methods used by each spouse. Lay it all on the table and work together to reach an effective and mutual compromise.
For those married one week or 50 years, resolving differences is not always pleasant. The quicker couples resolve their differences the quicker they find themselves planning their next wedding anniversary.
If you believe you and your spouse are facing irreconcilable differences and compromise is no longer a viable option, the The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates of Geneva, Illinois can provide peace of mind through legal compromise to reach a fair and equitable dissolution of your marriage. Serving the communities of Kane, Kendall, Dekalb and DuPage counties, contact us today for your initial consultation.