Itís no secret that happy marriages are very different from unhappy ones. By taking a look at how happy couples communicate and manage conflict compared to unhappy ones, we began to get a clearer idea of what works and what doesnít.
Here are some of the vital ways that happy marriages differ from unhappy ones.
In happy marriages, couples talk to each other more. They reveal more of their innermost thoughts and feelings. They communicate in a clear, direct way without any hidden agendas. There are also more positive expressions of love, affection, approval , encouragement and respect than in unhappy marriages.
Happy couples support each other and are more sensitive to each otherís feelings and moods.
They make more positive statements than negative ones and they are more likely to interpret their partnerís behavior in a positive light.
Happy couples are also able to express their feelings about any problems in their marriage in a neutral, rather than negative, manner.
Thereís also a lot more laughter and more positive non-verbal communication such as touch, looking at each other with affection, hugs and so on.
In comparison, unhappy couples display more negative behavior, both verbal (such as putting the other partner down all the time) and non-verbal (negative, closed body language and lack of touch)
Unhappy couples also make fewer attempts to solve their problems or to stay connected and in-touch with each other. There is also a greater likelihood that negative behavior on the part of one spouse will be met with negative behavior by the other. For example, the wife will begin to criticize the husband in response to his criticism of her.
Itís also likely that one spouse is significantly more dominant than the other in most conversations. Name calling and put-downs are common and there is little or no appreciation, affection and acceptance.