Gottman's 3 Conflict Strategies:
  • Avoidance/stonewalling (the worst)
  • Fighting (better than avoidance, but still not healthful or helpful)
  • Validation (the winning method—which means really trying to see things from the other person's point of view, and sharing all views with kindness, and the goal of finding a win-win compromise!)
    Gottman believes avoidance/stonewalling is the numero uno contributor to the end of love because it says to your partner: "Yo! I've checked out of this discussion because I don't find you important enough to continue to talk to anymore."

    Ouch. Basically, stonewalling conveys a lack of respect. Interestingly, studies show that most men are physiologically unaffected by their wives' stonewalling. However, stonewalling has quite the opposite affect on women. Wives' heart rates increase dramatically when their husbands stonewall. To add to this, about 85 percent of stonewallers are men! Admittedly, handling the inevitable stresses of a relationship is not an easy task.

    As my favorite philosopher buddy Aristotle says: "Anybody can become angry—that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."

    Translation? When problems arise, it takes what Aristotle calls "the virtue of discipline" to resist lapsing into avoidance/stonewalling or outright fighting. And it takes "the virtue of discipline" to self-examine with "conscious insight" to assess your self-responsibility. Finally, it takes "the virtue of discipline" to do the right thing and to be a good person when the going gets rough.

    Translation to this translation? For the most part, human beings aren't bad. Human beings are simply weak. Human beings just don't want to put in the "virtue of discipline" to be good and behave with high integrity.

    Believe me, I know how hard it is to be good during bad times. Unfortunately, being a good person isn't just something that happens naturally—like growing taller or hairier. However, high-integrity values like being good, considerate, empathetic and self-responsible are worth the "virtue of discipline," because every low-integrity, knee-jerk-be-a-jerk action sways you—then swerves you—farther away from your most important aim in life, becoming your highest potential, which is what brings the deepest happiness.

    How to make better choices during your next fight

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