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Marriage & Loving Relationships

4 Behaviors that destroy it; 7 Principles that make it work

While some marriages and relationships are doomed from the start, the focus of this piece is on those which weren’t. Let’s explore the twists and turns of a consummated loving relationship.   For this, we turn (as most couples counselors do) to the renowned work of John Gottman. Though admittedly not definitive, here it is in an nutshell:

Titled, FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, the four negative behaviors that most predict divorce are criticism of partners’ personality, contempt (from a position of superiority)defensiveness, and stonewalling, or emotional withdrawal from interaction

  1. Criticism: Attacking your partner’s personality or character
  2. 2. Contempt: Attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically abuse him/her
  3. 3. Defensiveness: Seeing self as the victim, warding off a perceived attack:
  4. Stonewalling: Withdrawing from the relationship as a way to avoid conflict

Now for Gottman’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”:

Couples strengthen the friendship that is at the heart of any marriage by enhancing their love maps; nurturing their fondness and admiration; turning toward each other instead of away; letting their spouse influence them; solving their solvable problems; overcoming gridlock; and creating shared meaning. Stable couples handle conflicts in gentle, positive ways, and are supportive of each other. We can all learn about and rely on such loving behaviors.

  1. Enhancing love maps Knowing and understanding about one’s spouse’s life, such as their worries, hopes, and goals in life; their history; and the facts and feelings of their world, expressing one’s fondness and admiration as well.
  2. Nurturing fondness and admiration That which makes one cherish one’s partner
  3. Turning toward each other Connecting with one’s spouse; being there for each other during the minor events in each other’s lives; and responding favorably to one’s spouse’s bids for attention, affection, humor or support.
  4. Accepting influence Sharing power; making one’s spouse a partner in one’s decision making by taking their opinions and feelings into account.
  5. Solving solvable problems Conflict resolution in a positive fashion, compromising; and being tolerant of each other’s faults.
  6. Overcoming gridlock Showing motivation and a willingness to explore the hidden issues that are really causing the gridlock.
  7. Creating shared meaning creating an inner life together — a culture rich with symbols and rituals, and an appreciation for the spouses’ roles and goals that link them

(John Gottman is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington, quoted in Wikipedia.)

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. We are trained and experienced in the counseling of couples.

This is why online is here. You two need not go through this alone.  With our support, you can get through these times. Our counseling aims to increase respect, affection, and closeness, break through and resolve conflict, generate greater understandings, and to keep conflict discussions calm. Together, we seek to help you, as a couple build a happy and stable marriage and loving relationship.

We can help. You needn’t leave your favorite/private place.  Nor must you wait for an appointment.  We are always there for you. You can begin in 24 hours or less.

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I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!