Marriages may be made in heaven, but their success depends on what you do on earth
Another important measure of a couple's togetherness is attunement, which he defines as :the desire and the ability to understand and respect your partner's inner world." (31). That doesn't mean that you share it, necessarily, but that you don't dismiss it as irrelevant to you because it is your spouse's.
Gottman also likes the word "ATTUNE" because the letters work out to represent the division of the speaker and listener's jobs in what he calls "the Art of Intimate Conversation."
The speaker must use Awareness, Tolerance, and Transforming criticisms into wishes and positive needs. The listener has to employ: Understanding, Nondefensive listening, and Empathy. (114) He goes through examples of each and points out how negative reactions can trigger additional conflict rather than communication.
The book also includes practical practical guidelines for choosing to say or do what will enhance trust and closeness. One of them is to identify five things your spouse did this past week that you appreciate. It doesn't have to be something grand; it can be as small as bringing you a cup of coffee or not getting upset when s/he might have (113).
For more on Gottman's work, see http://www.examiner.com/article/there-s-more-than-one-way-for-couples-to-manage-conflict
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