Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Part 2

gottman 2This is the second part in a series on John Gottman’s famous Sound Relationship House. You can find the first installment Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Part 1.

The second level of the Sound Relationship House is called Share Fondness and Admiration. Gottman says it is the antidote to contempt, which is the most damaging emotion that can be shared in a relationship. Expressing fondness and admiration builds a foundation of caring and respect and puts “money in the love bank.”

Show fondness and admiration by:
*Saying I love you.
*Giving compliments.
*Bragging about your partner to others.
*Making him/her a priority in your life.
*Verbally expressing appreciation.

Read more in John Gottman’s books which can be found in our Pre-Marital/Marital Couples section here.

Gottman’s Sound Relationship House: Part 4

gottman 4This is the fourth installment of my series on Gottman’s Sound Relationship House. I have taken all of these from Gottman’s books The Marriage Clinic and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I highly recommend the second book, because it is written for non-therapists and is a quick, easy read. But if you are up for something more scientific, The Marriage Clinic is one of the very best, most interesting books I have ever read.

The fourth level of the Sound Relationship House is about accepting influence from your spouse. Generally speaking, Gottman’s research shows that wives tend to accept influence quite readily from their husbands, even in unhappy relationships. Unfortunately, the opposite tends not to be true. Men sometimes think it’s “unmanly” or “hen-pecked” to accept influence from their wife.

By not allowing your wife to influence you, you could “win the battle but lose the war,” according to Gottman. Listening to her suggestions, taking her advice, and letting her contribute in important ways to the relationship helps build trust and unity.

Claiming that the man is “the head of the house” is not a reason to ignore your wife’s opinions. A wise leader always gets input from his team.

Accepting influence will help avoid power struggles in the relationship. It will also model for your children appropriate male-female relationships and teach your children respect.

Accepting influence from your wife means showing her honor and respect. It means turning off (or pausing) the TV when she wants to talk to you. It means giving in to her on things that are important to her.

Gottman says, “I believe the emotionally intelligent husband is the next step in social evolution. This doesn’t mean that he is superior to other men in personality, upbringing or moral fiber. He has simply figured out something very important about being married that the haven’t–yet. And that is how to honor his wife and convey his respect to her.” (The Seven Principles, page 109)

The Makings of a Happy Couple!!!

relationshipSince it is the beginning of a new year, I have been think of ways to improve different aspects of my life in efforts to become the “Best ME.”  Last week I wrote about healthier eating,  this week I found an intriguing article regarding habits of happy couples. If you have ever contemplated switching up or trying new things to improve your relationship, I found an article very interesting. Dr. Mark Goulston wrote and article in Psychology Today stating that listening is the key. The following is his list of habits for happy couples:

1. Go to bed at the same time

Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other to make love? Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps. And when their skins touch it still causes each of them to tingle and unless one or both are completely exhausted to feel sexually excited.

2. Cultivate common interests

After the passion settles down, it’s common to realize that you have few interests in common. But don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. If common interests are not present, happy couples develop them. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting to your mate and prevent you from appearing too dependent.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side

Rather than one partner lagging or dragging behind the other, happy couples walk comfortably hand in hand or side by side. They know it’s more important to be with their partner than to see the sights along the way.

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode
If and when they have a disagreement or argument, and if they can’t resolve it, happy couples default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrusting and begrudging.

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong

If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.

Holiday Spending and Marriage

Holiday spending and Marriage imageOne of the major subjects of marital strife is finances.  Many struggle to get their finances in order because they overspend throughout the year, which in turn causes marital conflict and sometimes even leads to divorce.  Likewise, the Christmas season can also become a time of such overspending.  We all get wrapped up in buying gifts because it is the season of giving, for our loved ones, friends, and co-workers.  According to a Huffington Post article, holiday spending-divorce, states that many spouses go as far as to opening secret credit cards to make hidden purchases, paying in cash to cover big-money items and even telling white lies about how much they have spent.  This kind of financial infidelity can wreak havoc on a marriage and stands against the oneness that God has intended for a husband and wife in all aspects of their life.  To prevent this, every couple should communicate openly about all areas of their lives, including normal day to day financial matters and holiday gift spending.  I have provided below some financial tips to help in your relationships.

Tips for holiday spending:

1.  Discuss as a couple what the budget is for holiday gifts.  Budget per person for each spouses family members or discuss to give gifts per couple vs. individuals.

2.  Create a budget specifically for gifts.  Breakdown amount want to spend per person.

3.  Make the budget for holiday gifts ahead of time so can safe money for each gift.

4.  Stick to the budget and do not overspend just because there is a huge sale.

5.  Do not use credit cards if you do not have money to pay for gift.  To be      conservative, you can take out cash allotted for each gift on budget to prevent overspending or use of credit cards.

You can also make your own personalized gifts for your loved ones.  Making gifts shows that you put thought and love into creating a special gift for the special people in your life.  Also, personal gifts bear sentimental value and bring a special kind of joy to the person receiving it.


When Parents Fight

Most parents want the best for their children. They would never intentionally harm their children or use them for personal gain. However, unfortunately there is a common pattern in families where parents unknowingly put the children in the middle of the adult disagreement. The technical term for this is triangling. Here are some ways you might see it happen in real life:

* Mom isn’t speaking to Dad, so she tells Junior, “Go tell your father it’s time to go.” This seems innocent enough, right? The problem is, the child is now involved in something that has nothing to do with him. He is carrying a weight that belongs to Mom and Dad.

No Spouse is Perfect

Successful marriages are those in which spouses grow together despite their shortcomings, care for each other including flaws and differences, and nurture their respective strengths to hold on to the good and minimize the bad in their relationships.

What were the good qualities that drew you to each other? What flaws in your relationship or in each other that you overlooked? Can you recover the best parts of your relationship and each other that made you want to spend the rest of your lives together?


Megan, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, is the wife of Malik, and mother of Ayanna, Jonathan and Isiah. She actively encourages her children’s higher education and community involvement. Megan is a Christian and active in the marriage ministry at her church Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Arlington, TX. Her personal interests include independent film, music and marriage enrichment. Megan is the co-founder of the Minority Behavioral Health Provider Networking Group along with colleague Cynthia Thompson.