I know nothing about marriage. How can I? Pesto and I have
been married less than three months. That said, I know about failed
relationships having experienced my fair share. Similarly, my
parents divorced when I was just 13. Succeeding at marriage is one of my
deepest goals. Yet, what makes a good marriage when you have nothing to model
it after? Before Pesto and I married, we read and asked, The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do"
by Susan Piver (highly recommended).
Following the honeymoon we undertook major
apartment renovations that took longer than expected, displacing us for more
than a week. While the end result was a fabulous living space, it set off a
series of arguments and prolonged bickering. Even with punctuated fun-filled
“date nights,” we couldn’t seem to shake the nasty pattern that inadvertently developed.
Once again, Pesto and I turned to books for guidance. Currently we are reading John Gottman's The Seven Principles
for Making Marriage Work. Gottman claims he can predict
with 90% accuracy whether a couple will stay together after observing them
interact for only five minutes. Based on a range of data (interviews,
observation, biological feedback, etc.) he argues that conflict resolution
ultimately determines whether a couple will make it or not. For example, does
one person attempt to deescalate the conflict by inserting humor or simply taking
Yesterday’s New York Times,
Those Aren’t Fighting Words,
highlights Laura Munson’s private and painful admission that her husband wanted
out of their marriage. She shares her poignant story, which offers a lesson for
married couples of how she “stayed the course,” weathering a rocky period. Is Munson's reaction to her husband's threats, ultimately what saved her marriage?
Gottman’s claim that how conflicts get resolved is most important? And, how do
you navigate the rough patches in a marriage?