Communication is the cornerstone to a successful relationship. How couples handle arguments, view their friendship in the marriage, and problem solve together can often predict the success of the marriage.
Good communication skills are critical to having a positive relationship with your partner. These skills are the foundation for maintaining friendship, reducing conflict, and creating meaning and dreams together. If you want to effectively handle conflict in your marriage, you simply have to change the way you and your spouse communicate with one another.
When it comes to helping couples improve their marriage through better communication, Susie uses the Gottman Method Couples’ Therapy approach in her work with couples, created by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottman Approach is a researched-based theory that gets results.
The Gottman Method for couples’ therapy was developed out of this research to help partners:
- Increase respect, affection, and closeness
- Manage conflict
- Learn to turn toward each other vs. away from each other
- Create shared meaning in life together
Gottman found that the four negative behaviors that most predict divorce are:
- Criticism. Criticism is different than offering a critique or voicing a complaint. Criticizing is attacking your partner (e.g., “You never think about how your behavior is affecting other people. I don’t believe you are that forgetful, you’re just selfish! You never think of others! You never think of me!”)
- Contempt. Examples of communicating with contempt include treating your partner with disrespect or mocking them with sarcasm, ridicule, name calling, mimicking, and/or body language such as eye rolling.
- Defensiveness. When we feel unjustly accused, sometimes we get defensive or make excuses so that our partner will back off. Unfortunately, this strategy is almost never successful. Our excuses just tell our partner that we don’t take them or their feelings seriously, and end up making them feel like we are blowing them off.
- Stonewalling. Stonewalling is when one person withdraws emotionally or shuts down and closes him/herself off from the other person.
The Gottman Approach Method is designed to teach couples skills and give them tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in their relationship. It focuses not only on effective conflict resolution, but also helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships.
Susie’s use of the Gottman Approach Method with couples has a low relapse rate. Couples learn how to have conversations in a different and effective way, without the therapist or third party having to play referee.
Click here for more information about Susie’s work with couples.