Reflection on Marriage
One of my responsibilities for my new position is coordination and also facilitating (some) marriage preparation for couples. So I've been reading books about healthy marriage and pre-marital counseling. In the midst of this S and I have had 2 pretty grumpy mornings. Figuring out our new schedule, having the stress of taking J to daycare, starting a new job, all while trying to juggle a household has made us a bit snappy and a bit emotional.
John Gottman, the expert on marriage, communication, and couples- who is also a Seattleite has written several books on marriage and relationships. Oh, he's also done like 30 years of research and tracking couples and seeing what lasts and what doesn't. I've been reading some of his stuff.
So apparently, based on his research it is okay for couples to fight, it's even okay to complain about specific things. …so Phew, about the last two mornings. Apparently, it is even healthy for many couples. It gets dangerous when rather than complaining about specific events they are criticizing (It bothers me that you just drove through a yellow light vs you always drive through yellow lights), chasing, name calling, or defensiveness. Also, there is this whole ratio thing that for every 1 negative experience couples have they need to have 5 positive experiences with one another. If that ratio gets off then their relationship can get pretty off as well. Oh and another interesting thing is that when couples aren't doing so hot they share their courtships story differently. They start to tell it through a negative lens. What used to be, "we met at this dive of a bar but when we saw each other we didn't care how dirty things were or how bad the beer was…we just talked through the night," becomes "we were wasted at this skeezy place, the beer was crap, there was smoke everywhere…we talked all night and then when we finally got out of that place my throat hurt from yelling over the music all night."
All in all, It's been kind of neat pondering marriage. Wow, I love being married…to S! Tons of little things drive me crazy about sharing domestic life with someone and with a little one but I really believe in my partnership, my partner, our way of communicating (and improving!). I basically find all of this quite interesting. I guess because I can see small ways that I instigate some unhealth in our relationship and I see tons of small ways I can shape the way I share feelings, express emotions etc.