Wednesday, May 16, 2012

*marriage wednesdays!*

it's wednesday and let me tell you - today's marriage tip is extremely useful and popular.
gottman's fifth principle is: solve your solvable problems.

i don't know a couple in the world that doesn't need a little help in the solving problems section. we all face them - so why not learn how to resolve them?? first, read the 5 steps to conflict resolution below. then, do this fun paper tower activity. (i know we are going to be doing it this week!)

activity: paper tower
this activity is especially fun to do with other couples. consider having a paper tower party or contest where each couple is a separate team. you can take turns being builders and scorekeepers.
your mission: build a free-standing paper tower using the supplies listed below. the goal is to build the highest, most stable, and most beautiful tower you can. you may have very different ideas about how to go about this, so remember to work out your differences of opinion using the compromise approach ... during this exercise try to be a team. try both to give and to accept influence. include your partner. ask questions. take about half an hour for this task. the finished product should not adhere exactly to either of your visions but should include both of them. when you're finished, have a third party (or another couple) score your tower ... when you're finished, you'll have created a monument to your marriage and your enhanced compromising skills.

1 sunday paper (or any newspaper really)
ball of string
colored cellophane
scotch tape
construction paper
cardboard pieces

the top score is 90. you get:
- up to 20 points for height
- up to 20 points for strength (stability)
- up to 50 points for beauty and originality. 

gottman created a model for resolving conflict in a loving relationship.
there are five steps:
(it's long but really - it's so important! if you don't want to read it all, at least skip to the fifth step. very useful.)

1. soften your startup
 "if you start an argument harshly - meaning you attack your spouse verbally - you'll end up with at least as much tension as you began. but if you use a softened startup - meaning you complain but don't criticize or otherwise attack your spouse - the discussion is likely to be productive. and if most of your arguments start softly, your marriage is likely to be stable and happy."

2. learn to make and receive repair attempts
"when you take driving lessons, the first thing you're taught is how to stop the car. putting on the brakes is an important skill in a marriage, too. when your discussion starts off on the wrong foot, or you find yourself in an endless cycle of recriminations, you can prevent a disaster if you know how to stop." this is called repair attempts. " your future together can be bright even if your disagreements tend to be very negative. the secret is learning the right kind of damage control."

3. soothe yourself and each other
"it is harder for a man's body to calm down after an argument than a woman's ... if your heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute you won't be able to hear what your spouse is trying to tell you no matter how hard you try. take a twenty minute break before continuing."

4. compromise
"before you try to resolve a conflict, remember that the cornerstone of any compromise is accepting influence [from your spouse]."

5. be tolerant of each other's faults
"too often, a marriage gets bogged down in 'if onlies.' if only your spouse were taller, richer, smarter, neater, or sexier, all of your problems would vanish. as long as this attitude prevails, conflicts will be very difficult to resolve. until you accept your partner's flaws ... you will not be able to compromise successfully ... conflict resolution is not about one person changing, it's about negotiating, finding common ground and ways that you can accommodate each other."

* i hope this was helpful! let me know if you have any question or comments or if you did the activity and had a good time with your spouse! really - that's the point to all of this :)

* just joined in on the fun of marriage wednesdays?? go here, or here, or here, or here, to read about the other tips!

just googled paper tower and this is what i got!
now, you better not be doing something like this... ;)

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