We are up to the seventh chapter! Who out there is reading along?
This chapter brings up a really great point that no one ever talks about in marriage: that there is two types of conflict in marriage. One is the type of conflict that has a resolution, but the other type is perpetual and ongoing! That’s what no one ever says, right? That some marital conflict just IS and may be ongoing.
Dr. Gottman actually estimates that almost 70 percent of marital conflict is perpetual! Wow! He writes, “Time and again when we do four year follow-ups of couples, we find that they are still arguing about precisely the same issue.”
And guess what? Despite the same perpetual problems and conflict, these couple remain happy and satisfied within their marriages! This is because “they’ve learned to keep it in its place and to have a sense of humor about it.”
Problems are an inevitable part of intimately loving and living with someone else. If we can develop strategies to cope with these problems, then we can live with it. The difference is that in an unstable marriage, these perpetual problems kill the marriage because instead of coping with the problem, the couple just “gets gridlocked over it.” Continue reading