Date night once a week? Sounds good.
Regular sex? Can’t complain about that.
Extra cash? Sure helps.
But dates, sex and cash aren’t the secret weapons of happy couples.
Sure, they all help, and are important in their own right, but the secret weapon is actually the ability to come together again after you get into a fight.
A “failed repair attempt” is when one partner tries to end a fight or “repair” the relationship after a fight, and the other partner refuses to let go or give in.
The repair attempt fails. When a couple suffers from habitual failed repair attempts, according to psychologist Dr. John Gottman, it is actually one predictor of divorce.
So when you’re evaluating your relationship and thinking about its strengths and weakness, ask yourself how well you and your partner do at coming together after a fight.
Think about how you might be able to do a better job at creating a successful repair together after you really get into it.
Maybe make a game out of it – test each other to see if you can genuinely repair your connection after your next fight. Each of you make an effort to try to repair things and when you notice your partner coming to you, do whatever it takes not to shut them out or shoot them down.
Talk about this with your partner at a time when you are both in a good place together and tell yourselves that you will do what it takes to successfully come out of the fight as a team next time you get into it.
Happy couples argue and fight.
A major difference between happy and unhappy couples is that happy couples know how to reconnect after their bond is temporarily broken.
Add the secret weapon of consistently repairing things after your fights to your arsenal and your relationship will thank you for it.
Swallow your pride and get to it!
Don’t be afraid to fight, just know what to do with each other after it’s over. Come together and make up.
Cheers to your best relationship,
Sam Moehlenpah says
Great post! It made me think of an Amazing Race season a few years back when there was a younger married couple that were fighting horribly on the show and even had a shoving match. I think most people were appalled. However on the same season was an elderly couple who nearly always came in last but managed to make it quite a ways into the show. They always seemed to get along and resolve their differences. They had been married for eons. Anyway on the episode where they were eliminated the elderly husband had made a huge error and missed the clue. When they finally found it and got in car the elderly woman ripped him a new one. It was brutal. She just totally unloaded. The man was silent. Here is the difference and the connection to your post, in just a few minutes she started apologizing for what she had said and how upset she had gotten. Bingo, reconnection. In my opinion the two couples fought quite similarly, but the difference was their reconnection skills.
Jenev Caddell says
Thanks for your comment, Sam! I didn’t see that episode but it totally makes sense. Couples are so afraid of fighting, when really fighting is a normal part of any relationship as long as you know how to reconnect afterwards! Couples who DON’T fight are more concerning to me than those who do but know how to repair. Thanks again for writing.