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Do strong couples have problems?

April 20, 2015

Here’s a life-changing idea…                                                                                                                          

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman says,

“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” (p. 131).

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.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…                                                          

Recognize that problems are not a sign of a bad relationship. Do everything you can to minimize problems but don’t let them upend you and your partner. Laugh at yourself. (But be careful about laughing at your partner). Focus on those parts of our relationship that are working well.

To Find Out More…

about personal well-being, check out our free programs: Your Blueprint for Happiness, Getting Our Hearts Right, or Managing Stress programs at, like us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

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