Why we do what we do?
As listeners, they first ask questions
Date: 5/22/2020 2:09:54 AM ( 7 mon ) ... viewed 229 times
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Why we do what we do?
** From a post by:
By Julie Gottman
March 25, 2020 at 2:01 p.m. CDT
In lockdown with your partner? Here’s how healthy couples survive.
Julie Schwartz Gottman is the president and co-founder of the Gottman Institute, and a co-founder of Affective Software, Inc.
Washington Post - Democracy Dies in Darkness
Life has been no party lately. Coronavirus has shattered our routines, pitched our economy into free fall, and left us stunned. We’ve been stripped of our social safety nets, those customary conversations with neighbors, friends, and family. We’re isolated and split off from each other like fish from the water.
Successful couples — those who remain happily together for decades — live by consistent guidelines. They look for what their partner is doing right, not what they’re doing wrong, and they say “thank you” a dozen times a day, even for something as simple as making the wake-up coffee for the umpteenth time. They look for beauty and positive traits in their partner and lovingly call them out. They work hard to ban criticism and contempt from their vocabulary — they almost never call each other nasty names or roll their eyes and scoff; instead, they express what they do need, rather than what they resent.
As listeners, they first ask questions to plumb the depths of their partner’s needs before responding — questions such as “Why is this so important to you?” or “Is there some background or childhood history behind this?” They create fair compromises: each partner first identifying those closely held values and dreams that they cannot negotiate, then together finding ways to concede in areas where there is some give. Last but not least, they cuddle and touch each other often — with affection, not just eroticism.
These habits of communication prevent poisons like criticism, contempt, and violence from toxifying the air a couple breathes. They create warmth, safety, and nourishment instead, so partners can relax and grow individually and together.
In the 1990s, another relationship researcher, Neil S. Jacobson, analyzed his own interventions for helping distressed couples. He learned that most of the couples he treated relapsed in no time, except for one strange group that didn’t. These couples maintained a practice different from what he taught them. Every night they had a “stress-reducing conversation,” in which each partner downloaded the highlights and lowlights of their day and shared their external worries, the ones emanating from outside the marriage.
Contrary to the norm, listening partners didn’t try to solve anything. They simply asked for more detail, especially about the speaker’s emotions, while listening and nodding empathetically. These couples remained happier in the long term. We integrated Jacobson’s work into our own and found his findings valid.
Guy Bodenmann, a Swiss researcher, cultivated “coping-oriented couples therapy,” a different style of marital counseling that emphasized couples talking together to reduce their stress. It worked beautifully — and no wonder. Biologically, we humans are pack animals. We depend on each other the way wolves and primates do. Bodenmann’s and Jacobson’s work — along with our own — suggests that couples need each other intensely, especially during times of stress. They don’t need help from their partner to solve their own problems. They each need help to feel less alone.
So why do we still think there is such a thing as “too needy” or that solo self-reliance is ideal? These ideas are nonsense. In the face of this new pathogen, we need each other more than ever — especially that person we live with. Let’s cultivate a little more kindness between us.
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Exactly why crises and events of serious or confirming disaster seem to deter people from their normal purine and life?
# posted by Kerminator @ Saturday, March 28, 2020
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