Want to stay married forever? Then DON’T try to improve your spouse. According to John Gottman, marriage expert and author of the book Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work, there will always be little things your spouse does that’ll drive you crazy. But you need to ignore the uncapped toothpaste, socks on the floor or dirty car windows.
Why? In his 30 year study of married couples, Gottman found that in successful marriages each spouse says five nice things for every unpleasant statement. But blowing up over little issues makes it easy to say the wrong thing, and suddenly - you’re 5 nice comments in the hole. So, for those times you have to disagree, here’s how to do it without damaging your marriage:
- Stay calm. You’ll be taken more seriously.
- Focus on specific behaviors. For example: Say, “When you leave dirty dishes, it frustrates me.” NOT “You’re such a slob!”
- Guys, pay attention! Marriages where men don’t listen to their wife during disagreements don’t last long.
If you’re an ‘eye roller’ or a guy that loses his temper, you need to take action. Count to ten and refocus on what your partner is saying. If that doesn’t work, have your next talk on the phone. Without the body language, you’ll argue less and compromise more. Wanna go further? Check out the book Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work by John Gottman.