Marriage Myths Three

MYTH:  COUPLES WHO HAVE SCREAMING FIGHTS ARE HEADING FOR DIVORCE.

“Volatiles” have been flagged by the Gottmans as one of three types of “happy-stable” relationships. (The other two, if you’re curious are “validaters” and “avoiders”.

In fact, the average happy volatile couple has at least a five-to-one positive -to-negative ratio during conflict – meaning that they have five times more positive interactions than negative ones – which John Gottman has found to be the mark of a healthy relationship. In contrast, couples who end up headed for divorce have a ratio of 0.8 to one. The key is that even though happy volatile couples can have intense fights, they still balance arguments with kindness and attentiveness.

John Gottman notes that each style has its pros and cons. “Conflict avoiders have a very peaceful life, but on the other hand, they can wind up leading parallel lives in which they’re very distant,” he says. The very passionate couples who argue a lot – they run the risk of devolving into constant bickering.”

I have a tendency toward “avoidance” due to having been in a previous abusive marriage. I try not to say or do things that might raise anger thus stuffing my feelings.Oddly enough, this bothers Danny rather than his finding it “peace keeping”.

However, as our new lifestyle is evolving we do have loud arguments that end in anger or time outs. We both have “quick” tempers so the anger burns out in a short period of time. We have developed a tendency for one of us to recognize the need for comic relief and will crack a joke or make an outrageous statement. This will help both of us to see how ridiculous the argument is.

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