This year, we created a new column within the Gottman Relationships blog, answered some questions, and featured contributors who weren’t afraid to write about some tough subjects. In our ongoing mission to understand how to love better, we took a look at the things that challenge relationships, and ways to ultimately make the relationships we choose stronger. Here are our most popular blog posts of 2019.
By Kristen Manieri
“This project taught me to notice that every single day we are touched by the people we interact with if we allow ourselves to be. We interact with dozens, maybe hundreds, of people every week, sometimes virtually, sometimes invisibly, but there is a connection and an impact that can be acknowledged. We’re not islands. We live in this world with billions of other people, most of them just trying to do good and be good. What a gift it is to send someone thanks for their goodness.”
By Zach Brittle, LMHC
“In every relationship, there is an expectation of the way things should be and an experience of the way things are. The pain in any relationship is usually represented by the gap between those two things. And sometimes the gap is too big to consider the hope of ‘making up again.’ When that’s the case, it may be time to walk away from the relationship.”
By Kerry Lusignan, MA, LMHC
“You are closing a critical chapter of your life and simultaneously embarking on a new one. There is also compelling evidence to suggest that the narrative you write, speak, and live from will have a profound impact on the adult your child has yet to become. How you make sense of memories, your past and the ways it has shaped you in the present, the answers you give to the fundamental questions of such, have the potential to pass down (or not) the same painful legacy that marred your early days.”
By Hannah Eaton
“Love is a choice that you make every morning when you wake up. It’s the decision to choose to cherish your partner, especially when you don’t feel like it. It’s in these times, in particular, that your partner likely needs your love the most. In truly healthy marriages, each partner wakes up in the morning, and makes the decision to purposefully practice and cultivate more love for their spouse.”
By Drs. John and Julie Gottman
“Offering empowering ways to discover the love you want and deserve, this extensively tested program of eight fun, conversation-based dates will result in a lifetime of understanding and commitment, whether you’re newly in love or have been together for decades. Because a happy relationship isn’t the result of having lots of things in common—as we often think. It comes from knowing how to address your core differences in a way that supports each other’s needs and dreams.”
By Cheryl Fraser
“There is so much mystery and shame around exploring our sexuality. I’ve heard dozens of spouses confide that they don’t feel passion for their mate anymore. They bravely share their fantasies about finding sexual excitement in new ways. So I’m eager to help Jamie understand the challenges of long-term love and explore how he and his partner might move forward.”
By Anna Aslanian, LMFT
“Sadly, partners of individuals struggling with substance or behavioral addictions often get assigned the label ‘codependent.’ Sometimes the hypervigilance and controlling behaviors of the partner are related more to re-experiencing traumatic feelings triggered by memories from the effects of their partner’s addiction. Therapy should always be trauma-informed. Instead of labeling someone ‘codependent,’ it’s important to recognize that these are normal reactions to trauma and not psychopathology.”
By Logan Ury
“Bids are often purposely subtle because people are afraid to be vulnerable and put themselves out there. It’s scary to say, ‘Hey! I want to connect! Pay attention to me!’ so instead, we ask a question or tell a story or offer our hand for connection. We hope we’ll receive connection in return, but if not, it’s less scary than pleading, ‘Connect with me, please!’”
By Jonathan Trotter
“As I journey back, it occurs to me that the most helpful people were those who were not afraid of me. They were comfortable enough in their own skin that they didn’t seem uneasy around me. They didn’t expect me to ‘get over it’ and ‘move on,’ but they also didn’t expect me to cry all the time. They treated me with grace and dignity, acknowledging that I was still, in fact, me. I am forever grateful for their wisdom and kindness.”
By Kerry Lusignan, MA, LMHC
“Gottman and Brown give us a map—a macro perspective of the wilderness of our hearts, and the wildness of love. It’s a rocky path, fraught with challenges and risk. But vulnerability is inherent in any stance that places courage above comfort. And should we decide to follow it, the destination it promises to take us to is nothing short of awe-inspiring.”
We look forward to sharing more personal stories, thought-provoking content, and useful tips with you in 2020 and beyond. Subscribe to our blog below or, if you want to share your unique relationship story, you can submit to our Real Relationships column here.
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