Romantic relationships, like all other relationships, are primarily built on communication. Communicating is a process in which people’s thoughts and feelings are shared or their ideas are conveyed to the other party in different ways. Speech style, tone of voice, tone of voice, body posture, gestures and mimics are very important in terms of communication. Making communication, which is one of the most basic features of every relationship, in a correct and constructive order helps to increase the characteristics of the relationships. While talking about these features, one of the sine qua non of relationships that should be based on trust and commitment is “Managing Conflict”, provided that Gottman’s research defines it as the Strong Relationship House and explains the basic meanings of the relationship. One of the supports that communication provides us is the way in which the discussions that are in every relationship or even should be put on the agenda. It has been observed that couples with strong relationships start talking in a softer tone while arguing, and stay away from humiliating and critical attitudes. How the discussion started determines how it will end in 94%. So, starting with soft starts instead of hard starts will be a much more constructive way for relationships.
As a result of scientific research conducted by John and Julia Gottman with couples for over 35 years, it has been concluded that couples with strong relationships stay away from the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.
What Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Defense: Couples defending during conflict or communication, neutralizing the attack, reversing the blame, and focusing on their own victimization are considered as an indicator that the partners do not take responsibility. Although solving the problem is not always a priority in relationships, getting defensive causes people to put the responsibility on the other side. What relations need, rather than defense, is mutual sharing of responsibility. For this, you can remind yourself that you have options such as focusing on truly understanding your partner, saying what you deserve, and apologizing for your mistakes. Giving right does not have to be your attitude in the event. Acknowledging thoughts and feelings also helps people feel much better.
Criticism: Although criticizing can be classified in different areas, the criticism we make in our emotional relationships is generally heard by the partner as “You have a disorder.” The act of verbally attacking or judging your partner’s personality or characteristics in general is defined as criticism. Instead of criticizing here, it will be much more constructive to share feelings and needs with the language of ‘I’.
Humiliation: Behaviors such as insulting your partner, making fun of him or exalting himself by imitation send the message that you despise him. In close relationships, people expect to be appreciated and to feel loved. It is supported by research that couples who make a culture of appreciation and remind each other of their positive and good qualities have much longer-lasting strong relationships.
Walling: Finally, one of the basic behaviors that should be avoided in order to have strong relationships is not responding during conflict or in daily communication, being introverted, keeping a distance and moving away, in other words, cutting off communication.
Instead of building walls, it will be much more supportive for couples to take a break from arguments, explore how to relax psychologically, talk or spend time to relax.
Arguing is essential and normal in relationships. Instead of not wanting to argue, making repairs in the form of discussion, having constructive discussions, staying away from the four horsemen of the apocalypse, making soft starts and turning it into a dialogue at the point where the arguments cannot be resolved support the relations to be much stronger. Let’s not forget that research shows that only 30% of couples’ problems are fully resolved.