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Do strong couples have problems?

December 28, 2010

What Experts Say…
“These [strong] couples intuitively understand that problems are inevitably part of the relationship, much the way chronic physical ailments are inevitable as you get older. They are like a trick knee, a bad back, an irritable bowel, or tennis elbow. We may not love these problems, but we are able to cope with them, to avoid situations that worsen them, and to develop strategies and routines that help us deal with them.”
John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

In Other Words…
Even the best couples have problems. Some of those problems never go away—no matter how hard we try, no matter how much education or therapy we get. Problems and differences are a part of all relationships. But we can learn to be peaceful with those challenges. Maybe we can even laugh about our humanness.

How This Applies to You…
Recognize that problems are not a sign of a bad relationship. We should do everything we can to minimize problems but we should not let them upend us. We can laugh at ourselves. (But be careful about laughing at your partner.) We can stay focused on those parts of our relationship that are working well.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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