Every romantic relationship is a union between two individuals who bring to it their own opinions, personality quirks, and values. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” It’s no wonder that all couples argue.
In the Gottman Method, we say “manage” rather than “resolve” conflict because we believe that relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. It is important for couples to understand the difference between perpetual problems and solvable problems, which Dr. Gottman explains in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. For a quick overview, we wrote a blog posting about the difference here and Zach Brittle, LMHC wrote “P is for Problems” as part of his Relationship Alphabet blog series here.
The good news is that if you feel like you’re having the same argument over and over, you’re not alone. In fact, Dr. Gottman found that 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems that never go away.
Do you have questions about arguments or relationship conflict in general? Certified Gottman Therapist Shelly Hummel will join #AskGottman this week to answer your submissions in a manner that will provide you with the skills necessary to solve your solvable problems and effectively manage the rest.
Use the form provided below to submit your questions before 5:00 PM PST on Thursday, March 26, and the answers will be posted in an article on Friday, March 27. You can also submit questions by using the hashtag #AskGottman on Twitter.
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