Listen to Dr. John Gottman, co-founder of the Gottman Institute, talk about lasting marriages on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds. Good stuff here -- a must-listen for anyone who's in a relationship.
Gottman will be at Town Hall Seattle Seattle on May 4 as part of ParentMap's Lecture Series, talking about "Making Marriage Work."
The Masters deal with conflict very differently...they're very gentle in the way they approach talking to their partner so they don't make their partner defensive. Whereas the Disasters immediately by start presenting the issue as if the problem is a defect in their partner's personality. They use criticism and they take no responsibility -- they act like they're pretty much perfect and their partner is defective....and then they usually act superior and abusive while they're doing this. They insult their partner. And when the conflict gets really hot, they withdraw and stonewall. And so those patterns are very predictive of what will happen in a relationship.
Friendship is the base of making conflict work. When this is your friend -- your irritating friend -- that you're talking to, rather than your adversary, then conflict goes entirely differently.