No matter how much love you share, there’s no way you can completely avoid conflict in your relationship. All couples argue, fight, and sometimes say mean words to each other. But what sets happy couples apart from unhappy ones is that the former have a conversation that helps them re-connect and recover from their conflict.
A couple begins the process of healing their bond when each partner is ready to claim responsibility for their part in the conflict and knows that their relationship is more important than any issue they might be having.
Repair is any action or statement that tries to prevent negativity from getting out of hand. The aim of every repair attempt is to find out what was wrong and how to be more constructive next time around.
What makes a repair work?
Renowned marriage therapist, Dr. John Gottman evaluated many repair attempts to find out what makes them effective. After observing over 3000 couples, he found that how a repair attempt was made does not determine how well it would work. While some beautifully-made repair attempts failed, others that were made in very clumsy ways were effective.
Even something as simple as a big, stupid grid can prevent things from going into a negative downward spiral in a moment of conflict.
Friendship is essential to good repair
Dr. Gottman later discovered the secret of emotionally linked couples after looking at the physiology of the partner to whom the repair is being made.
He found that the main thing that differentiates partners who repaired successfully from those who failed was the emotional relationships between the couples. To put it in another way, a couple’s repair attempt will only be effective if they have been good friends to each other, especially recently.
When you do nice things and show appreciation to your partner, you are depositing into your emotional bank account. Your relationship will be more likely to withstand the storms that will surely come if both of you understand each other and share a great friendship. If you are rude, impolite, and not close to each other, your attempt to repair is bound to fail.
The quality of the friendship between couples is the most important thing in repairing bonds when something goes wrong. And repairs don’t need to be complex or done in a beautiful way for it to work, provided the couple has a good foundation.
Couples can build a friendship that will make simple repair attempts work by following the principles below:
Principle 1#: Get to know your partner more
Ask questions about your partners and memorize the answers to know more about your partner. Learning more about the other person will help you build a good friendship with them.
Principle 2#: Express your fondness and admiration
Show love and admiration for your partner by telling them how much they mean to you and by taking care of them. Compliment your partner, express gratitude for the things they do for you and show that you are proud of them.
Principle 3#: Turn towards your partner
Pay attention to your partner’s demands for attention and emotional connection. Try to hold hands with them. Give in to their requests. Answer their questions. Look into their eyes when they look into yours. And seek their opinions on important issues, and you are your way to building a relationship that can stand the test of time.
When you are in a relationship and have never-ending conflicts with your partner, you should visit a Toronto Couple counsellor for guidance & assistance. To schedule your conflict resolution counselling, please feel free to contact Ellen Starr by calling 416-488-3102 today!