Did you know that researchers can predict with almost 95-percent accuracy whether a couple’s marriage will succeed or fail?
Their predictions are based on how a couple fights – not how frequently the couple fights or even what they fight about, but howcouples engage each other in conflict.
Researchers discovered four elements to marital conflict that are destructive to a relationship. Dr. John Gottman calls them “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” They are:
Wouldn’t it be great if couples could avoid the Four Horsemen and use conflict to invigorate their marriage rather than allowing it to burn up their love life?
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott say it’s possible.
The Parrotts are our guests on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “How to Fight Fair.” In this recorded message, they share practical information and advice to help couples fight well and to use conflict to their marriage’s advantage.
For example, they explain the four stages of relationship that lead husbands and wives through conflict to deeper intimacy:
- Pseudo relationships (very shallow)
- Chaos (when you start to get real)
- Emptiness (the capacity to empty yourself of the need to change another person)
- Genuine relationship (you can be who you are and still be loved)
They also explain their “X, Y, Z formula” for resolving conflict, which empowers couples to resolve disagreements by saying, “In situation X, when you do Y, I feel like Z.” It structures the conversation and keeps couples on track and civil.
You’ll be interested in the Parrotts’ book The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer. I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family”program.When you do, I’ll send you a copy of the Parrotts’ book as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our websiteor call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
And why not take a few moments to try our free marriage assessmentonline tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and areas where you may need some improvement.
Dr. Les Parrott is a clinical psychologist, and Dr. Leslie Parrott is a marriage and family therapist.