Putting on the Breaks
The quality of the communication between two lovers has a tremendous impact on the emotional health of their relationship. So much so that Dr. Gottman was able to predict, with an accuracy rate of above 90%, which couples would stay together and which ones would end their relationship based on how they managed conflict. However, even if communication is tremendously negative and both people end up frustrated, it seems like there is something that can be done to turn things to the better: repair attempts. A repair attempt is an expression or action (funny or not) that is done by one or both people to change the course of a disagreement. A repair is most successful when used at the very beginning of a disagreement and before it escalates. By observing, in his studies, the couples who never divorced, Dr. Gottman compiled a list of examples of repair attempts. I am adding the picture of that list for your own knowledge and use. The idea is that you and your partner choose which repair attempts you will use when you have a disagreement the next time. Feel free to come up with your own. They do not have to be sentences necessarily. Often, the most successful ones are funny smiles, funny comments or anything that "breaks the ice". Finally, put the list in a visible area of your house, such as the fridge, so you can easily access it.