Relationship Minute: Repair is the key

You might think that in the research, the couples who had more conflict were in less happy relationships. But there was actually very little correlation between the frequency of conflict and happiness in the relationship.

All couples argue. It’s how you repair that makes all the difference.

A repair attempt is “any statement or action—silly or otherwise—that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”

The thing that set the “Masters” of relationships apart from the “Disasters” was how they employed repairs—early and often. There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules as to what types of repairs work “best,” as that is usually specific to your partner and your relationship.

There isn’t even a textbook style order to things (Step 1: argue, Step 2: repair). The Masters would often make small repairs and adjustments within a conflict conversation, as they were having it. This makes even an argument a collaborative experience in service of the relationship.

All this to say if you have an argument, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. It means you have an opportunity to repair and connect.

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.