Dr. John Gottman informed me about 10 years ago, there were horses in my marriage bed. He had been doing research for years in his couples’ lab about happily married couples versus those couples who were miserable or on the verge of divorce. Dr. Gottman’s research showed there were four horsemen I needed to keep out of my marriage.
My husband and I read about these horses and took a quick assessment of our arena. At the time, the horses were running like wild stallions stampeding for water in the Sahara through our marriage! We knew we had to do something fast to reign them in!
Horse #1 – Calico Criticism – One of my favorite rides I saddled up and rode regularly. Research shows that a happily married couple has 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction. It seemed I had this backwards — by 100 times some days! I saw something I did not like in our relationship or home and just spoke freely about it. Extroverts are great at this sort of thing, y’all know. ‘Cause we just HAVE TO process out loud. Yee Haw!
Horse #2 – Dandy Defensiveness – My husband’s first choice to saddle up and ride in those days. He had many ways of riding this equine. “Yes, but!!” “But you!” And my personal favorite, “Deny! Deny! Deny!” My lovely hubby just blame-shifted his way out of any little mess he thought he might be in.
We discovered we were quite adept at riding these fine steeds through the fields of our marriage. And, according to John Gottman, our marriage was ready to be put out to pasture. Of course, Dr. Gottman’s 35-year long research wasn’t about squashing our hopes — After all, his research was all about pumping hope back into a relationship, providing antidotes to these bad habits, and getting couples back on the Good Enough Trail so they can ride off being just Happy Enough to enjoy their journey.
We had to figure out how to round up these horses and corral them in quick! But first – We had to keep an eye out for those other 2 horses Gottman told us about – Connie Contempt and Stoney Stonewalling!
Stay tuned for the next edition of: “Horses In My Bed?” next time!!
In the meantime, if you and your spouse want to learn how to rid your relationship of these bad horse habits and develop a healthier and happier relationship, call or email me for an appointment. You both can learn habits to rekindle the relationship and help you to ride off into your sunset happily!