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  • How NOT To Be That Couple Who Can Barely Talk To Each Other After Kids Are Born

    Work on your connection with the help of these conversation topics.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
How NOT To Be That Couple Who Can Barely Talk To Each Other After Kids Are Born
PHOTO BY iStock
  • How many times have we heard the line that one of the secrets to a lasting marriage is communication? No couple probably disagrees with this but it is essential to know what needs to be communicated again and again to strengthen a relationship further.

    “Some conversations matter more than others in relationships,” say Drs. John and Julie Gottman, researchers, psychologists, authors, and founders of the relationship site The Gottman Institute.

    In their book titled Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, co-authored with Doug Abrams and Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D., the Gottmans present an “extensively tested” program of eight fun, conversation-based dates. These are aimed at achieving “a lifetime of understanding and commitment,” whether you’re a new couple navigating your way around a budding relationship or have been together for decades.

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    The book offers the kind of conversations that couples need to have to reinvigorate the connection and passion that first brought them together but may have become routine, they say.

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    “A happy relationship isn’t the result of having lots of things in common — as we often think. It comes from knowing how to address your core differences in a way that supports each other’s needs and dreams,” the Gottmans point out.

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    Here, they name eight conversation that can lead to a lifetime of love.

    1. Trust and commitment

    One word comes with the other, and the authors describe trust as “cherishing each other and showing your partner that you can be counted on” while commitment is “accepting your partner exactly as he or she is, despite their flaws.”

    2. Conflict

    It is just as important to talk about your differences as much as the things you agree on. There is not one relationship that hasn’t met any conflict, and it’s how a couple deals with it that makes a world of difference in their relationship.

    “Relationship conflict serves a purpose,” say the Gottmans. “It’s an opportunity to get to know your partner better and to develop deeper intimacy as you talk about and work through your differences.”

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    3. Sex and intimacy

    Would you rather do it or talk about it? The Gottmans say couples who talk about sex have more sex, but talking about sex is difficult for most couples. “It gets easier and more comfortable the more you do it,” they suggest.

    Romance and intimacy keep a relationship happy and passionate. In another article published on the same site, John Gottman suggests practicing the “six-second kiss” daily. It is a kiss with potential, he explains. “You don’t necessarily have to attach it to sex. In fact, don’t. Let the kiss speak for itself.”

    4. Work and money

    According to the Gottmans, couples who have money issues are not really arguing about money. “[Money issues] are about what money means to each partner in a relationship.”

    A conversation about both work and money may lead to finding out what money means to both of you. It will go a long way in resolving the conflicts you may have around the subject, say the Gottmans.

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    5. Family

    According to the Gottmans, approximately two-thirds of couples have a sharp drop in relationship satisfaction shortly after a child is born, and this drop gets deeper with each subsequent child.” Could this be true in your relationship?

    The Gottmans advise, “To avoid this drop in relationship happiness, conflict needs to be low, and you need to maintain your sexual relationship.”

    6. Fun and adventure

    Play and adventure help make a relationship successful and joyful, say the Gottmans. But what if a husband’s idea of adventure is playing Mobile Legends while the wife wants to go to the spa? Differences in your ideas of fun are fine, they say, as long as “you respect each other’s sense of adventure and what it means to that partner.”

    7. Growth and spirituality

    Seeing how one person encourages another’s growth is one of the most selfless acts in a relationship. “The key is how each person in the relationship accommodates the growth of the other partner,” the Gottmans point out. “Relationships can be more than just two individuals coming together — they can be stories of transformation and great contribution and meaning to the world,” they add.

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    8. Dreams

    Another selfless act is honoring each other’s dreams. The Gottmans reveal it “is the secret ingredient to creating love for a lifetime.” By acknowledging and honoring your partner’s dreams, hopes, and desires, trust is built and “everything else in the relationship gets easier,” they conclude.

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