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Getting over our differences

February 1, 2011

What the Experts Say…

“Many couples tend to equate a low level of conflict with happiness and believe the claim ‘we never fight’ is a sign of marital health. But I believe we grow in our relationships by reconciling our differences. ” (John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, p. 28)

In Other Words…

There are three kinds of relationships found in research: volatile, avoidant, and validating. In each kind of relationship, people resolve conflict differently. But there are certain constants: all relationships have conflict; that is part of two humans being together. We can find those ways of dealing with differences that work for us. All kinds of relationships can be satisfying and enduring.

How This Applies to You…

Don’t panic when conflict happens in your relationship. Conflict is really an invitation for growth. It is an opportunity to try to understand another person and his or her unique world view. So, when a disagreement breaks out, take a deep breath. Relax. Open your mind to understanding. (We will provide many more tips for managing conflict in future messages.)

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 Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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