Weiner-Davis on Gottman about prediction
Thu Jan 6 23:32:29 EST 2000
from: Smart Marriages
This from Michele Weiner-Davis who will present a keynote on
trying to prevent "Walk-Away Wives" at the 4th Annual Smart
Marriages conference in Denver.
I was good to hear from John Gottman on the issue of prediction.
I am not surprised to hear that repair attempts are one of the major
in what makes relationships last. I do think that it would behoove John
broaden his microscope a bit. Most of the couples I encounter make
attempts, but they do so after their discussion/argument has ended. They
often show little compassion or understanding for each other's viewpoints
the heat of the discussion, but then a day or two later- presto, chango-
alter their behavior to incorporate their partner's perspective and/or
wishes. The repair attempts tend to be action-oriented rather than
Sometimes nothing more is said about the argument or about the changes.
peace prevails and friendship resumes.
That's why, in addition to teaching couples about the importance of
for verbal repair attempts during discussions, I also teach couples to
attention to the ways in which their partners' actions show that they
listening after all...in the days following the argument . Realizing
just because a person is being argumentative doesn't mean he or she won't
take to heart the message being communicated has several advantages. It
enables couples to feel more comfortable letting disagreements stand
they know that time might bring more conciliatory behavior. This
arguments from escalating unnecessarily. It also sets up positive
expectation about how the relationship will unfold after conflict. The
self-fulfilling prophecy often brings about positive results.
I wish I knew about the dynamic about which I am writing years ago in my
twenty-seven-year-old relationship with my husband. I could have avoided
many of the heated battles in the early years of our marriage.
finally figured out that no matter how vehemently he opposed me during
discussions/shouting matches, he usually accommodated my wishes soon
thereafter. I also noticed that as long as I didn't call too much
to his kindness and cooperativeness, (making it seem as if he had given
he appeared more than happy to oblige. Sometimes talking isn't
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