My wife and I attended a marriage workshop this past weekend. It was very good and was truly a “work shop”. We actually were given time and space to go face to face and share our hearts. We love this type of workshop/seminar for married couples and it is the type of thing we do for couples who engage with us in Marriage Mosaic, our marriage ministry.
The workshop title is; The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, based on research John Gottman and associates have been doing at the University of Washington over the last 40 years. John’s wife Julie, a licensed psychotherapist, has helped develop the research into 7 practical principles that couples can apply to their relationship.
They have found that at the core of all successful marriage is a committed friendship. One of the many nuggets that were reinforced for me in this workshop is the fact that friendship must be continually cultivated over the life of my marriage to Monique. The Gottman’s call this work, establishing and growing your “love map”. When relational stresses and hurts happen, if the foundation of friendship is deeply rooted ; it may get shaken but it doesn’t crumble.
Another great insight for me is knowing the difference between “perpetual” and “solvable” conflicts. This is a huge one! This blog title, “Perpetual Fireworks”, refers times when my emotions get triggered and I enter into what the Gottman’s call “flooding”. When this happens, a huge roadblock to communication is unconsciously erected in the sacred space between Monique and I. Listening and positive problem solving is out the window.
Because of the nature of this conflict and its periodic reoccurrence, the Gottman has found that it is far better to “manage” this conflict than to try to resolve it. Managing the conflict doesn’t seek resolution, but is content to contain it, which preserves the friendship. Thus, I am learning to be more aware of the “perpetual fireworks” inside my heart and practice some skills to manage the “flooding”. Monique is helping me too. Interested in learning more? Stay tuned for some real “relational traction”.