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Here We Go Again

Dov Finkelstein, LCSW

You feel like you’re constantly fighting with your husband about the silliest things. What’s behind those minor squabbles gone awry — and how you can use them to transform your marriage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

spiral “Can you help me take down the laundry?” Chani asks her husband.

“Sure,” Baruch replies. “In five minutes.”

“Forget it — I’ll do it myself.”

“I’m only asking for five minutes to finish what I’m doing.”

“Everything is always five minutes. All you do is procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. And I end up doing everything by myself.”

“And all you do is complain, complain, and complain. What’s the big deal about five minutes?”

Fuming, Chani lashes out. “You’re so self-centered!”

“I’m self-centered?! That’s why I go to work every day, and just picked up your dry cleaning on the way home?!”

Why is it that a conversation about something seemingly small can turn into such a big, heated argument? This question perplexed Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist and professor famous for his research on marriage. In a study, he asked more than 1,000 couples to discuss conflicts they had in their homes — and discovered that the fights appeared to be about absolutely nothing. But when he read between the lines, an entirely different picture surfaced.

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