Be a friendly observer (DW#551)

Eli Finkel, a researcher at Northwestern University is the one who popularized the term marriage hack in his popular TED talk which is based on his book The All or Nothing Marriage

Here is a summary of his most significant research finding about happy couples: Over the period of a year, couples in a study were asked to think about their disagreements from a third-person perspective—from the perspective of a neutral party who wanted the best for all involved. So they practiced viewing the conflict from an objective perspective, without their own emotions involved. The study found that these couples were more likely to be satisfied in their marriage than the couples who could only see their own side during conflict. 

What can we learn from this?
1)    It does not mean that these couples did not disagree or fight.
2)    It shows that they practiced some key aspects of emotional intelligence:

a.   The ability to manage their own emotional reactions during disagreements

b.   The ability to still see the issue from another perspective and not just their own

3)    The research also showed that these skills were not innate. The couples in the study were asked to be intentional, to learn and to practice these skills. Which means that all of us can learn them. 

So the next time you have a disagreement or find yourself in the middle of a fight, 

1)   Pause for a moment
2)   Imagine you are a fly on the wall (or a therapist who is a friend of your relationship and not on any one side)
3)   Ask yourself:
a.   How is this person observing this interaction?
b.   Does your opponent (oops, I meant spouse) have a point? Even a teeny tiny point? Even if you don’t agree, just the ability to have this perspective is what makes this exercise so valuable in honoring the other person.
c.    What can either of you do in this moment to turn this fight around or make a repair attempt?

Join our blog!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.