Resolving conflicts is one of the most common issues that a couple seeks professional help for. That’s why I thought it interesting to comment on and share some points that John Gottmann mentioned in an interview in Psychotherapy Networker, a magazine for psychologists and psychotherapists.
For those who haven’t heard of him, Dr. John Gottmann is a recognized expert on couple therapies and has studied thousands of couples for more than 40 years, identifying what makes a couple stay together and what makes them separate. Dr. Gottmann calls these couples that stay together despite problems “masters of relationships.” He calls (though not in this interview) those who focus on their problems in a way that points to a future separation “disasters of relationships.”
One of the things that I like about the interview is that he brings up and shoots down 2 of the most common myths about conflicts in couples:
So it seems that couples who consider themselves happy in their relationship have intense disputes and issues that they never manage to agree on!
How can we have conflicts and a satisfactory relationship then? Dr. Gottmann gives some recommendations:
In short: What’s more important than the frequency or intensity of conflicts is how they’re dealt with and how the couple lives together with them. Because they’re always going to make up part of any relationship.