The researcher, Dr. John Gottman, is more well know than his more clinical wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, perhaps because of his books, and his self-confidence, and his research. But they have been married for over 31 years so it can be interesting to hear what the research/clinical team have to say about their own relationship and making it work. They have a short article in the New York Times about making their own relationship a loving and long lasting one.
If you have followed my blog, you will know that I often write about the need to look at yourself, to look at what you are doing in the relationship, and to stop putting so much blame on your partner. When a couple is locked in blaming their partner, they are just that: locked, and change is often stopped. And in couples therapy I emphasize the need to look at what you are doing and not so much your spouse. So look at the excerpts below with that in mind, these excerpts by the marriage therapist experts who are also doing an expert job of working their own marriage:
“We’ve learned to create a dialogue about our differences and to accept them. Humor kept us alive when we had conflict. We realized we had to stay calm and focused enough to describe ourselves rather than describe each other.”
When she’s upset, I’ve learned the world needs to stop — to close the Kindle, and to listen to her, to not react, which is hard for me to do because I’m very defensive. I used to think, I’m innocent, it’s your fault. I’ve learned to shut up and listen and take her seriously before I talk about my point of view. I’ve learned that the bigger her emotion, the more depth there is behind it.
I have been influenced by this couple through training with them years ago and in reading their books since that time. But I am just as profoundly moved by their being vulnerable about who they are as a couple, the intimacy they have with each other, and the work they do to keep their own marriage alive and growing. And I hope that you can learn from them about how to make your own relationship better.
Dr. Robert G. Kraft is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Has practiced in Nebraska ever since.
As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy.