Male Speaker: How long have you been together?
Male Speaker: Been together or married?
Female Speaker: Well.
Male Speaker: Because I can’t do that math.
Male Speaker: Why do some relationships succeed and others fail? Romantic movies, books, and songs create the myth of happily ever after. In reality, a long, happy relationship isn’t automatic. Every relationship is unique, but there are some common themes. Partners in a long-lasting relationship regard each other as friends and equals. Also, each partner admires traits in the other.
Male Speaker: She makes decisions fast and that helps me. That’s a good thing, because I’ll just sit there forever, but she’s like, let’s go!
Female Speaker: I actually really enjoying hanging out with him. I feel like I can be myself and I am not worried about what he thinks about me. I know he loves me.
Male Speaker: Partners work at being a couple and don’t take each other for granted.
Male Speaker: Yeah.
Female Speaker: Absolutely.
Male Speaker: Well, for us, when one of us comes in the door, the other person stops whatever they are doing, and just kind of connects with them.
Female Speaker: We give each other our full attention for a few minutes and when we are having a crazy day, it’s really important to be connected that way.
Male Speaker: Finally, long-term partners regularly express appreciation for each other.
Male Speaker: She’ll say something like, the cover door you fixed, that like made my day. I’m going to fixed again the door anyways, but the fact that she remembered and actually thanked me, means she appreciated it, but it means a lot to me too.
Male Speaker: There’s one more element, researchers found vital in a happy lasting relationship; the ability to resolve conflict.
Male Speaker: I have a hard time really communicating my thoughts and sometimes that makes the situation worse.
Female Speaker: We have terrible fights, because we’re not able to communicate.
Male Speaker: Right.
Female Speaker: We get really childish.
Male Speaker: I mean I think every couple is going to have disagreements, right? And they are going to fight.
Female Speaker: Yeah, it’s how you fight that matters.
Male Speaker: Experts say most couples resolve their differences in one of four ways; the first method is “Avoidance”.
Male Speaker: I -- I do not like to fight. I fought in my previous marriage a lot, so, now, not so much.
Male Speaker: Avoidance may work in short-term situations, but it’s a poor choice in a long-term relationship, because it does not last.
Male Speaker: I had a problem at work and it escalated and I’m like quit on the spot. I didn’t tell my wife.
Female Speaker: Oh, I remember that. You refused to discuss it.
Male Speaker: Capitulation is when one partner gives into the other. It’s a good choice when the issue isn’t that important to one of the partners, but be careful, if the same partner always gets his or her way, it can build resentment. Another common method is “Compromise”.
Female Speaker: I remember, we had an argument once. Do you remember this where I was sending money to my sister.
Male Speaker: To your sister, yeah.
Female Speaker: He did not agree, but we compromised and ultimately decided that I would work overtime to pay for half of that money.
Male Speaker: Which helped, I mean, we didn’t -- we both weren’t totally happy, but at least we weren’t fighting about that.
Female Speaker: We met in the middle.
Male Speaker: Compromise means, neither side gets everything they want. People sometimes regard compromise as the ideal way to resolve a disagreement, but there is a better method, “Collaboration”.
Male Speaker: One day, I came home, and I told my wife that my mother wanted to come live with us.
Female Speaker: And I was like, “Oh no!” We had a huge fight.
Male Speaker: Right.
Female Speaker: I thought his mom wanted to live with us, it was really his brother who wanted his mom to live with us. He just tried to make him feel guilty about it.
Male Speaker: But luckily, we found a nearby apartment, and ultimately, my mom started working for my wife.
Female Speaker: So now, she has money for her own apartment, which is great.
Male Speaker: Yeah.
Male Speaker: Collaboration isn’t easy. It requires a high degree of listening, trust, and creative thinking, but it is worth the effort because collaboration is win-win.
Disagreement is also a natural part of any long-term relationship. Understanding these resolution strategies can help.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of fair fighting.
Female Speaker: Don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking or feeling.
Male Speaker: Stay calm!
Male Speaker: We consider compromising and negotiating differences.
Female Speaker: Don’t engage in name calling or labeling.
Male Speaker: The goal is to fight fair and resolve differences with love and respect. Studies show this is the number one factor in long-term relationship success.