November 22, 2019

Couples and the Gottman Method

Although 98% of the population will one day get married, prospective husbands and wives are likely to spend more time choosing the decor for their wedding ceremony than working on their relationship. Despite the availability of proven practices for marital success, most people just go with the wing-it method, crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. And unfortunately, in most cases, winging it just doesn’t work. You see, we’ve changed the rules of the marriage game. People live longer, marriage, accordingly, lasts longer, and, unlike our ancestors, the majority of those who marry in Western cultures today do so based on love—a sentiment that can quickly turn sour if the foundational aspects of friendship, conflict management, open communication, and trust are not also cultivated.    

Gottman Method

The good news is that we now have science-based data on what makes relationships successful, as well as methods to overcome our most common relationship challenges. All of this is available to us via the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy, developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman.  As the Gottmans themselves attest, every couple can benefit from the Gottman Method. 

Indeed, as Dr. John Gottman states in his New York Times bestselling book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work:

Although you may feel your situation is unique, we have found that all marital conflicts fall into two categories: Either they can be resolved, or they are perpetual, which means they will be part of your lives forever, in some form or another.

According to Gottman, 69% of all marital conflicts are perpetual problems, and these are of particular focus in much of the work performed by Gottman-trained therapists. Understanding the commonality of such problems can, in itself, be a relief for couples who have been struggling with issues that don’t seem to go away, as it demonstrates that they are not, as may have been feared, alone in their circumstance. 

Gottman solutions have been devised for issues including:

• Frequent conflict and arguments

• Poor communication

• Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation

• Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting

And it’s not just couples who are “in trouble” who benefit from the Gottman Method of couples therapy. The aim of Gottman couples’ therapy is to help couples build stronger relationships overall by teaching them new ways to strengthen their friendship and intimacy, manage conflict when it arises, support one another’s hopes and dreams, and create shared meaning. In this sense, Gottman can be used prophylactically, enriching each partner’s life both individually and together, to ensure that they have the skills to manage any difficulties that arise.  

Whatever the state of your relationship, it should be clear from the above that Gottman works for just about everyone who finds himself or herself in partnership with another human being. Here at Southern California-based Curry Psychology Group, Dr. Shannon Curry provides Gottman Couples’ Therapy sessions and private retreats for couples’ that are committed to improving their relationship. For more information, please view the Gottman Couples’ Therapy specialty on our website.