BY: SIMONE JENNIFER SMITH
Greetings my Community!
Wow! I am trying to remember where I left off. I know that I had to focus on some other topics the last couple of issues, but it is time to head back to building our community, and an important building block is the family. We left off discussing Dr. John Gottman’s principles for making a marriage work. Let me give you a bit on Dr. Gottman; he is a professor of psychology and founder of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute. He has taken the time to study hundreds of couples in amazing detail. He has observed and recorded couples interacting in comfort and during arguments, and it has been said that he can predict with 91% accuracy whether a couple will last or not.
After reading some of his work, I was intrigued by what he has found and I needed to share it with you Toronto. Let us see what we can take from his work to help with building. Let us review the Seven Principles briefly, and over the next few issues, we will revisit them individually. If you have any questions or would like a link to the actual article, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alright, let us get the show on the road. Gottman established the principles after conducting his practical research on couples:
- The first principle is Enhancing Your Love Maps
- The second principle is Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
- Turning Toward Each Other means connecting with each other again
- Principle four is Letting Your Partner Influence You
- Solving Your Solvable Problems
- Principle Six is Overcoming Gridlock
- The last Principle, Create Shared Meaning
The first principle, Enhance Your Love Maps, is about knowing your spouse very well. This includes all the good and bad about your partner. It is easy to get tunnel vision when you are in love; everything is about the emotion and feelings. Eventually, that part of the relationship wears off, and now this is when the real work begins. When learning love maps, it suggests knowing day to day habits and values as well as history. A question might be about a partner’s best friends or current stresses. Yes! That means that at times, it is not going to be all about you; there has to be recognition of your partner and your partner’s needs. This is why it is so important to learn and understand the person that you are with.
“Who Am I,” is an exercise that is based on this principle. This exercise will take about 30 -40 minutes. The first thing that needs to be done is you and your partner have to select a topic to discuss. It can be anything: sex, finances, dating, or children. Each of you have to select a different topic. The second part of this exercise allows you to write for 10 minutes on the topic. The third step is you swap papers with your spouse and discuss your responses. Each partner has 10 minutes to talk, and while each partner is talking, the other has to practice listening skills. Don’t argue, don’t give advice, don’t add or subtract, don’t share your opinion; you just have to listen. You will be surprised at what you learn about your partner and how they perceive the world.
The more you know about each other’s inner world, the more amazed you will be at who you have married. This exercise was designed to help with self-exploration and to help you share this exploration with your partner. This is ideal for all couples at all stages, even if you and your spouse consider yourselves open books. There is always more you can learn about someone. After all, people do change, and sometimes we have to learn and relearn someone.
Take some time to do this exercise, and then give me some feedback. I look forward to hearing from you Toronto!