In AON: Communication, Conflict Resolution

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Drs. John and Julie Gottman are co-founders of the Gottman Institute, where they provide state-of-the-art marriage and mental health training to professionals. They also co-authored the book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, which we will reference today. Individually, Dr. John Gottman’s 40 years of research on marriage has earned him numerous awards, as well as being classified as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century. He founded the renowned “Love Lab” at University of Washington, where much of his research has taken place.

Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman is an expert advisor on marriage, sexual harassment and rape, domestic violence, and parenting, to name a few. She was named Washington State Psychologist of the Year, and co-created the immensely popular Art and Science of Love weekend workshops for couples.

“We are more aware of negative things that trigger our partner and more open to seeing from each other’s point of view. We learned how to listen to each other, relate to how the other is feeling, and understand what they are trying to communicate.”

Willie & Courtney Watkins – Premium Members

Inside the Lesson

In this episode, Drs. John and Julie Gottman—co-founders of the Gottman Institute and authors of 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage—unpack the two types of problems every couple faces: perpetual problems and solvable problems. Sixty-nine percent of married couples suffer from perpetual problems, which vary based on personality differences or lifestyle preference differences. These types of differences can create friction in a marriage, but smart couples, know how to avoid a gridlock and seek to have healthy conflict conversations by approaching these types of discussions with kindness, understanding, and compassion.

For military couples, conflict resolution can be particularly tricky. During deployment, military couples should talk on the phone as often as they can and have stress-reducing conversations—allow your spouse to talk about the stress while you simply listen and empathize. This will help your spouse feel less alone in dealing with the stress. Military members should avoid creating emotional distance by refusing to talk about what they have gone through and experienced. Instead, they should allow their spouses to enter into the pain. Only then can their marriage be intimate and life-giving.

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