Conflict is inevitable in every relationship. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” However, Dr. Gottman has found that nearly 1/3 of all conflicts can be resolved with the right approach.
The popular approach to conflict resolution, advocated by many marriage therapists, is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen to what they say, and communicate with empathy that you understand their perspective. It’s a decent method if you can do it.
But most couples can’t. Even happily married couples. After studying couples for the last 40 years, Dr. John Gottman has recognized that even happy couples do not follow the experts’ rules of communication.
By studying what these couples did, Dr. Gottman developed a new model for solving your solvable problems in an intimate relationship.
Step 1: Soften Your Start-Up
How a conversation starts influences how it will end. Watch how a harsh start-up influences the conversation.
Kim: Once again, I come home from work and have to pick up after you. (criticism)
Kris: Here we go again. I’m such a slob, right? Pssh. I clean the kitchen counters.
Kim: Then why do I have

Originally published at http://www.gottmanblog.com/

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