Wednesday, June 15, 2011

John Gottman's Principle 2 & 3

Lena Baron
Assignment 10
John Gottman's Principle 2 and 3
Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away

While reading about Principle 2, Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration, in Gottman’s book, I was reminded of a blog post that my husband and I wrote together almost one month ago. It is a good example of what Gottam means when he says, “the best test of whether a couple still has a functioning fondness and admiration system is usually how they view their past.” He went on to say, “I’ve found 94 percent of the time that couples who put a positive spin on their marriage’s history are likely to have a happy future as well.”  I would like to share the story that we wrote to our children on our blog. After I share the story, I will share a few examples of how our story brings out the points that Gottam is trying to make in the Principle.

Once upon a time, a prince and princess lived on a paradise island.  The princess loved children and loved going to the beautiful beaches where she would bronze her skin in the glistening sun. The prince worked in a special castle as a healer and people would come from far off places to be healed on this island.

This prince and princess met and during their time together on the paradise island they would often go to the oceans edge, listen to the wave’s crash upon the rocks of the shore, and watch the stars twinkle and the clouds roll across the sky in the wind. One night the prince took the princess on a great vessel upon the ocean where they rode out to sea together and listened to music from the islands. Soon the prince and princess decided they wanted to live happily ever after together and the prince lovingly asked the princess to be his queen. The princess assured him that she wanted this with all of her heart. 

Without delay the prince decided to go with the royal accountant to the royal jeweler to look for a ring for his future queen. He saw piles and piles of gold and diamonds.  The prince wanted something special for the princess so he asked the jeweler to present his best diamonds.  The jeweler showed the prince two beautiful diamonds.  One of the diamonds was huge and the other a bit smaller. However, the second diamond sparkled like the stars in the heaven.  The prince chose this diamond.  Then the jeweler presented two smaller diamonds to fit next to the heavenly one in the center.  The jeweler said that these were called tear drop diamonds, but when place just right next to the center one it formed the shape of an angel.  The prince was pleased, for it reminded him of his future queen, his one true love. After the ring was set in the jeweler’s best gold, the royal accountant paid for the ring.

The prince presented the priceless ring to the princess and to celebrate the prince and princess went to the special castle were the prince worked and went to the servants who lathered the prince and princes down in exotic oils and lotions while the court minstrel played music.  Afterwards, they went to a special feast were the cooks prepared a humongous cake covered in the finest ice cream and topped with a river of chocolate syrup.  They finished this off nearly bursting the seams of their finest garments.  

The prince and the princesses’ families were overjoyed that their children had finally found their hearts desires. Before very long, the prince and princess journeyed to their homeland to be married. It was here that the prince and the princess entered into the most sacred of all of their kingdom’s castles to be sealed together as King and Queen for time and for all eternity. Their heavenly king was with them on this day and they promised Him that they would love and cherish Him and one another for all of their days. They promised that one day they would teach their children about the true meaning of love and who brought them together as a family, never to be divided.  

The royal wedding was filled with all of the beauties of heaven and earth. After much celebration, the new king and queen road off into the sunset to begin their life together, and this was only the beginning of a real life fairytale…

This is an obvious dramatization of the story of how my husband, Leif, and I met. There are written details within the story that give examples of the admiration and fondness that Leif and I share for one another. For example, Leif is called a healer in the story because that is how I picture him in all walks of life, he has healed my soul in many ways. Leif compared me to an angel because he felt that I was sent to him as an answer to prayer.

However, the key elements within the story are not necessarily the words of the story, but the feelings and images that are stirred within our hearts while telling the story. Every time we read this story again, or tell it to someone else the love that we share seems to grow just a little stronger.

If there ever comes a time when our love becomes weak or distorted Leif and I have a great reminder within this story of how our “fairy tale” a.k.a “Fondness and Admiration” began and why we want it to continue.

In principle 3, Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away, Gottman says, “Comical as it may sound, romance actually grows when a couple are in the supermarket and the wife says, “Are we out of bleach?” and the husband says, “I don’t know. Let me go get some just in case,” instead of shrugging apathetically.” I love this example of turning toward each other as a couple and making deposits into The Emotional Bank Account. There is no greater “deposit” that my husband can give me at the end of a long day then to offer to grab a diaper down stairs for the baby so I don’t have to go get it myself.

Last night I didn’t sleep well. I found myself tossing and turning and I eventually got out of bed so I didn’t disturb Leif. One of the first things Leif said to me this morning was that he was sorry I had a bad night. I hadn’t told him, and he wasn’t accusing me of disturbing him, he was turning towards me, instead of away.

Principle 3, Exercise 3 gives couples a chance to define the reasons behind the times when they feel like their spouse has turned away from them. This will be a valuable lesson for Leif and me because as I mentioned in my previous paper our weaknesses are often flooding and stonewalling. This lesson gives us a step-by-step guideline of how to get to the root of any issues that come up.

Gottman has given us invaluable information within these principles. I look forward to reading further and continuing to apply his lessons within my marriage. 

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