The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: #5 Solve Your Solvable Problems

The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work

By: John Gottman

“Solve your solvable problems.” Gottman says that there are two types of marital problems: conflicts that can be resolved and perpetual problems that can’t. It’s important for couples to determine which ones are which.

Sometimes, though, telling the difference can be tricky. According to Gottman, “One way to identify solvable problems is that they seem less painful, gut-wrenching, or intense than perpetual, gridlocked ones.” Solvable problems are situational, and there’s no underlying conflict.

Gottman devised a five-step model for resolving these conflicts:

  • In Step 1, soften your startup, which simply means starting the conversation without criticism or contempt.
  • In Step 2, make and receive “repair attempts.” Gottman defines repair attempts as any action or statement that deescalates tension.
  • In Step 3, soothe yourself and then your partner. When you feel yourself getting heated during a conversation, let your partner know that you’re overwhelmed and take a 20-minute break. (That’s how long it takes for your body to calm down.) Then you might try closing your eyes, taking slow, deep breaths, relaxing your muscles and visualizing a calm place. After you’ve calmed down, you might help soothe your partner. Ask each other what’s most comforting and do that.
  • In Step 4, compromise. The above steps prime couples for compromise because they create positivity, Gottman says. When conflicts arise, it’s important to take your partner’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. Here, Gottman includes a valuable exercise to help couples find common ground. He suggests that each partner draw two circles: a smaller one inside a larger one. In the smaller circle, make a list of your nonnegotiable points. In the bigger one, make a list of what you can compromise on. Share them with each other and look for common ground. Consider what you agree on, what your common goals and feelings are and how you can accomplish these goals.
  • In Step 5, remember to be tolerant of each other’s faults. Gottman says that compromise is impossible until you can accept your partner’s flaws and get over the “if onlies.” (You know the ones: “If only he was this” “If only she was that.”)

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The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: #4 Let Your Partner Influence You

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work

By: John Gottman

“Let your partner influence you.” How important do you think it is to allow yourself to be influenced by your spouse? Men, is being a strong spiritual leader to your family mean that you have all the answers and that you don’t need any help from your wife? Women, are you receptive to your husbands suggestions, or do you think he is as inept as mainstream media suggests he is? Dr. Gottman believes accepting influence from our spouse is important enough to be one of his 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Happy couples are a team that considers each other’s perspective and feelings. They make decisions together and search out common ground. Letting your partner influence you isn’t about having one person hold the reins; simply put, it comes down to honoring and respecting each other and valuing what each brings to the relationship—and to your life together. Its conveying to your spouse that your opinions and feelings matter to me and giving consideration to those opinions and feelings before making decisions. It says “we are a team, we’re in this together and we need each other”.

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The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: #3 Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work

By: John Gottman

“Turn toward each other instead of away.” Romance isn’t a Caribbean cruise, an expensive meal or a lavish gift. Rather, romance lives and thrives in the everyday, little things. According to Gottman, “[Real-life romance] is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life.”

For instance, romance is leaving an encouraging voicemail for your spouse when you know he’s having a bad day, Gottman says. Or romance is running late but taking a few minutes to listen to your wife’s bad dream and saying that you’ll discuss it later (instead of saying “I don’t have time”).

Gottman acknowledges that this might seem humdrum, but turning toward each other in these ways is the basis for connection and passion. Couples that turn toward each other have more in their “emotional bank account.” Gottman says that this account distinguishes happy marriages from miserable ones. Happy couples have more goodwill and positivity stored in their bank accounts, so when rough times hit, their emotional savings cushion conflicts and stressors.

The emotional bank account is a great metaphor for a very real concept. Bad times will come, but if the good outweighs the bad the relationship will survive. In the bad times we need good times in the rear view to look back on fondly and help us pull through. The “emotional bank account” is very important for those reasons and each time you turn toward each other instead of away you are making a deposit into your relationships account.

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The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, written with Nan Silver, renowned clinical psychologist and marriage researcher John Gottman, Ph.D, reveals what successful relationships look like and features valuable activities to help couples strengthen their relationships.

Gottman’s principles are research-based. He and his colleagues have studied hundreds of couples (including newlyweds and long-term couples); interviewed couples and videotaped their interactions; even measured their stress levels by checking their heart rate, sweat flow, blood pressure and immune function; and followed couples annually to see how their relationships have fared.

He’s also found that nine months after attending his workshops, 640 couples had relapse rates of 20 percent, while standard marital therapy has a relapse rate of 30 to 50 percent. In the beginning of these workshops, 27 percent of couples were at high risk for divorce. Three months later, 6.7 percent were at risk. Six months later, it was 0 percent. (Here’s more on his research.)

Over the course of the next few posts we will examine the principles that Gottman goes over in his book. Can it be that simple? Can you make a marriage work by following these 7 principles? Stay Tuned

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success: Law #7 The Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

By: Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra Says, Everyone has a purpose in life . . . a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

I will put the Law of Dharma into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. Today I will lovingly nurture the god or goddess in embryo that lies deep within my soul. I will pay attention to the spirit within me that animates both my body and my mind. I will awaken myself to this deep stillness within my heart. I will carry the consciousness of timeless, eternal Being in the midst of time-bound experience.

2. I will make a list of my unique talents. Then I will list all the things that I love to do while expressing my unique talents. When I express my unique talents and use them in the service of humanity, I lose track of time and create abundance in my life as well as in the lives of others.

3. I will ask myself daily, “How can I serve?” and “How can I help?” The answers to these questions will allow me to help and serve my fellow human beings with love.

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success: Law #6 The Law of Detachment

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

By: Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra professes In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty . . . in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.

I will put the Law of Detachment into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are. I will not rigidly impose my idea of how things should be. I will not force solutions on problems, thereby creating new problems. I will participate in everything with detached involvement.

2. Today I will factor in uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, out of the confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my security.

3. I will step into the field of all possibilities and anticipate the excitement that can occur when I remain open to an infinity of choices. When I step into the field of all possibilities, I will experience all the fun, adventure, magic, and mystery of life.

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Power: #5 The Law of Intention and Desire

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Power

By: Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra teaches that Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment . . . intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organizing power. And when we introduce an intention in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.

I will put the Law of Intention and Desire into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. I will make a list of all my desires. I will carry this list with me wherever I go. I will look at this list before I go into my silence and meditation. I will look at it before I go to sleep at night. I will look at it when I wake up in the morning.

2. I will release this list of my desires and surrender it to the womb of creation, trusting that when things don’t seem to go my way, there is a reason, and that the cosmic plan has designs for me much grander than even those I have conceived.

3. I will remind myself to practice present-moment awareness in all my actions. I will refuse to allow obstacles to consume and dissipate the quality of my attention in the present moment. I will accept the present as it is, and manifest the future through my deepest, most cherished intentions and desires.

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success: #4 The Law of Least Effort

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

By: Deepak Chopra

Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease . . . with carefreeness, harmony, and love. And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.

I will put the Law of Least Effort into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. I will practice Acceptance. Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are this moment, not as I wish they were.

2. Having accepted things as they are, I will take Responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. I know that taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation (and this includes myself). I also know that every problem is an opportunity in disguise, and this alertness to opportunities allows me to take this moment and transform it into a greater benefit.

3. Today my awareness will remain established in Defenselessness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view. I will feel no need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them.

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success: #3 The Law of Karma or Cause and Effect

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

By: Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra says Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind . . . what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.

I will put the Law of Karma into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. Today I will witness the choices I make in each moment. And in the mere witnessing of these choices, I will bring them to my conscious awareness. I will know that the best way to prepare for any moment in the future is to be fully conscious in the present.

2. Whenever I make a choice, I will ask myself two questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?” and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?”

3. I will then ask my heart for guidance and be guided by its message of comfort or discomfort. If the choice feels comfortable, I will plunge ahead with abandon. If the choice feels uncomfortable, I will pause and see the consequences of my action with my inner vision. This guidance will enable me to make spontaneously correct choices for myself and for all those around me.

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The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success: Law #2 The Law of Giving & Receiving

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

By Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra says, The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.

I will put the Law of Giving and Receiving into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. Wherever I go, and whomever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a FLOWER, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth and affluence in MY LIFE and in the lives of others.

2. Today I will gratefully receive all the gifts THAT LIFE has to offer me. I will receive the gifts of nature: sunlight and the sound of birds singing, or spring showers or the first snow of winter. I will also be open to receiving from others, whether it be in the form of a material gift, money, a compliment or a prayer.

3. I will make a commitment to keep wealth circulating in my life by giving and receiving life’s most precious gifts: the gifts of caring, affection, appreciation and love. Each time I meet someone, I will silently wish them happiness, joy and laughter.

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