In Dr. Gottman’s research, a couples consistent failure at repair attempts is a sign of an unhappy future. Even the best of relationships can engage in the Four Horseman, however their success is only possible due to the couple’s ability to repair.
What is a repair attempt? Dr. Gottman defines this as “any statement or action- silly or otherwise – that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”
Repair attempts can therefore depend on the couple dynamic, as far as what repair attempts work best for each partner.
Couples who are successful, engage in repair attempts often and early.
They recognize the need to repair, and do not get caught up in the game of “win/lose” with their partner. The ability to avoid this prideful game makes it easier to engage in repair behaviors.
The ego gets in the way when we feel the need to make a point or feel that we have “won” the argument.
Much like the Love Languages, our repairs can look and sound different than our partners.
So what might this look like?
It may come in the form of an apology. Or after an argument, you may notice your wife asking you what you’d like her to make you for dinner.
…you notice your husband starts doing the dishes which is something you often have complained about
…your partner sits down next to you on the couch and squeezes your thigh, or makes a joke to make you laugh.
These are all considered repair attempts.
Your task is to think about the ways you choose to repair with your partner, as well as the ways you like for your partner to repair with you.