How Can I Make Sure our Love Lasts Forever?
September 3, 2007 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I am deeply in love with my new girlfriend and I want to know what we can do to insure that our love lasts forever.
How Can We Make Sure our Love Lasts
It's great that you're writing to me before problems arise. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (and prevents you from pounding on each other)! The most important thing that you both can do is insure that you handle your angry feelings properly. It's easy to be loving toward each other when you're feeling loving feelings.
The real challenge is to behave lovingly when you're mad as hell! To be loving in times of stress requires a commitment to doing so, the maturity to resist the impulse to say or do something that will do harm to your partner and your relationship, and, of course, above all you need to have the necessary skills to handle your anger properly.
My book, Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First): A Step-by-Step Guide for Resolving Relationship Conflict lays out how to handle anger constructively. There are many skills involved. These include: Learning to communicate what's bothering you in a way that encourages the other person to want to hear you and be responsive.
The key is to present your problem in a calm, clear and concise way using my 'X-Y Formula, ' which is a statement that says I felt X, when you did Y (or you said Y). For fragile and defensive partners, you will need to avoid the word 'you' altogether and say, I felt X when Y was said or done. Then you will finish your statement with a Suggestion for the Future, so your partner knows what will make you would prefer next time.
Proper communication also includes eliminating what I call Fight Traps, which are dysfunctional fighting tactics that fuel the fire and cause more anger and fighting.
Fight Traps are grouped into two categories: open warfare and secret warfare. Open warfare Traps include, name calling, blaming, counterattacking, behaving defensively, kitchen sinking (throwing everything that 's bugging you into one discussion) etc. ; and secret warfare includes, guilt tripping, giving the silent treatment, forgetting on purpose, withholding what the other person wants, etc. Being a good listener, reflecting back what you have heard--to show you've heard and understood your partner (this is often all that 's needed to head-off a fight) learning to negotiate, and much more.
It's now easier than ever to put all my proven techniques into place, using my Relationship Rescue Kit. I encourage you to get started. It's best to have all the skills under your belt before trouble strikes. Think of a fire drill in which you practice your escape route before the fire erupts.I commend you for doing this work ahead of time. It's a great plan and the best way to insure your love will last and only grow stronger.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book is mandatory reading for every couple that wants to build lasting love.”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show