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Repair Attempts

Is it possible for couples to never fight? No! Conflicts are inevitable which may lead to escalated arguments. This is a fact supported by years and years of research. More importantly, what do you do to avoid an escalated situation? Believe it or not, there are techniques that can be implemented to assist you in these difficult situations. Simply put, they are called ‘Repair Attempts’. John Gottman, PhD, refers to successful repair attempts as the “happy couple’s secret weapon”. Here are several ways you can use repair attempts during a fight:

  • Ask for a time out – no less than 20 minutes

  • During the time out, utilize self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing, prayer, or listen to music

  • If you notice the topic is being changed, politely ask your partner to remain on topic that is being discussed without bringing up past events

  • Use humor – laughter

  • Validate your partner’s feelings/emotions

  • Apologize in the heat of the moment

  • Remind each other that you’re on the same team

  • Ask your partner what they may need from you at the moment

  • A gentle touch

  • Take responsibility for your behavior

Sometimes you may think that in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to utilize the above suggestions, however, remind yourself that if a repair attempt it not used, the situation may escalate to a higher emotional level leaving you both feeling frustrated and angry. Remind yourself that you love your partner and want a happier and healthier relationship. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1John 4:7-8.




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