Gottman, Conflict Styles, and Why I am Not Worried About My Marriage

Before I went to school, I was sure I could point out which marriages would succeed or fail. I would casually observe the marriages around me and secretly guess how long each couple would last. Not a very positive game, but I was surrounded by divorce and keen on avoiding it in my own marriage. After I married, these observations turned into an obsession. I was sure that marriages in which the couples argued a lot were doomed, but those that avoided conflict were even worse off. Surely the best marriages were ones in which arguing was rare but problems were not ignored. An even balance.

When my sister married, I watched her interactions between she and her husband closely. They seemed intent on avoiding any conflict. Rather than argue, they would shrug their shoulders and insist that time would solve their problems. They preferred to emphasize their similarities rather than discuss differences. I gave them a few years. At most.

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