When there is a strong friendship, repairs in the relationship work better. In the Gottman’s book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” (1999), they talk about the importance of repairs. In any relationship, we have to expect to have some level of conflict or disagreement; it is not the conflict that is the problem most of the time, it is the success of the repair attempt.
What is a repair attempt? A repair attempt might be “That came out the wrong way, sorry”, or “Maybe I overreacted there”, or it could be reaching out with a little smile. Dr Gottman found that it was not how the repair attempt was made, but the general emotional temperature in the relationship that predicated how it was received. Is a foundation of warmth or contempt already present?
A foundation of warmth is the same as having a foundation of friendship. Do we give our partners the benefit of the doubt, or assume they intended the worst? This is where these three principles come into play. Dr Gottman found that these principles helped create a foundation of friendship and warmth, so the repair is more successful when there is conflict.
I think the second principle of cultivating fondness and admiration is a great one to remember. What did your partner do or say today that you are grateful for? Did you thank them for just being themselves today? I like to remember that we all have an inner child, and every child needs to feel loved. Have I shown my inner child that I love her today? Have I shown my partner’s child today that I love him?
Do you have any questions about this? If so, pop them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to reply.
Good luck on your healing journey, Jen