Rebecca Hagelin

In an interview with the L.A. Times, Lisa Neff, Director of the Austin Marriage Project at the University of Texas (Austin) pointed out that while couples need a very realistic perspective in order to solve specific conflicts and support each other, they also benefit from "[h]aving a positive overall glow, that things will work out for the best and that my partner is really a good person."

Similarly, Gottman's research points out that, as important as good conflict resolution skills are, they are not the cure-all for a failing marriage. Why? Because 69% of conflict in a marriage is "perpetual," meaning that it's more a function of personality issues and competing needs than a specific problem. Couples need to negotiate those conflicts but, more importantly, they need to build friendship, foster intimacy, and discover shared meaning in their lives. In so doing, they can re-ignite their optimism about each other and their marriage.

While a pessimistic view of the other person and the marriage worsens the relationship, cultivating a positive mindset towards your spouse---focusing on their strengths and gifts-will, says Neff, "remind you of why you're in that relationship in the first place."

And that's good for every marriage.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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