How to improve your marriage without talking about it

I’ve been reading a relatively new book by two of my favorite relationship authors, Pat Love and Steven Stosney with an intriguing premise.  In their book “How to improve your marriage without talking about it,” they suggest that behind much relationship conflict lurks a primal difference in the male and female psyches.  They suggest that women are programed to be more sensitive to danger and to have a quicker fear reflex than men do, and that this fear reflex is particularly triggered when women believe that their connection to those they love is in some way endangered.  Men on the other hand, according to Love and Stosney, are more prone to feelings of shame and react more strongly to the perception that they are being criticized or in some way found to be less than adequate.  What happens when men and women get together is that the woman’s fear reflex is triggered by something the man does (not calling, driving too fast, ignoring her) and she responds with criticism to calm her fear, which then triggers the man’s shame response and he responds with withdrawal or attack which then triggers the woman’s fears once more.

This certainly resonates with my experience, both personally and clinically and is congruent with Imago Relationship Therapy’s concern with creating relationship safety.

What do you think?

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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