Monday, April 06, 2009

Anger as a resource

A commenter writes,
    Suzanne, you are mischaracterizing Love and Respect! Emerson Eggerichs does not claim that John Gottman argues in favor of a wife’s submission. What Emerson does claim is that the Bible tells a wife to submit to her husband. It then follows that if the husband has final authority, it is contemptuous of the wife (i.e., disrespectful) to fail to submit to that authority.
Its true that Gottman is not arguing in favour of the wife's submission. In fact, Gottman, seems to be saying something rather different.
    In one study that Gottman and Krokoff described, the interaction of couples at home, as well as in the laboratory, also was studied. They found that a set of marital interaction patterns related to happiness and positive interaction in the home concurrently, but were predictive of deterioration longtitudinally. In particular, an agreeable and compliant wife was dangerous for improvement in marital happiness. It seemed that it is necessary for disagreements to be aired in a marriage, and that is usually the role of the wife in this society. ...

    In fact, we were led to suggest that anger is a resource for the long-term improvement of the marriage, particularly the wife's anger. ...

    Gottman and Krokoff (1989) suggested that positive verbal behavior and compliance expressed by wives may be functional in the short run, but problematic in the long run. What Predicts Divorce? page 131


Lin said...

"In fact, we were led to suggest that anger is a resource for the long-term improvement of the marriage, particularly the wife's anger. ..."

I just heard the testimony of a man who had an affair and how his wife responded. He explicitly said that if she had been a submissive wife, their marriage would never have been saved. He made a huge point of this.

He said that having final authority or any thought of authority over her would have ruined it for them both.

It took 3 years from him to win her back. And he is a changed man for it because he is now saved.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful for your expose' on love and respect. I have been so frustrated by this book and the simple minded embrace it has receive by evangelicals. I have read Gottman and when I heard that Love and REspect was based on Gottman, i was suprised. What I heard from Gottman was that one of the challenges men have is accepting influance from their wives and that this was a predictor in unhappy marriages that end in divorce.

Anonymous said...

I was re-reading Gottman this week end and Gottman has a section on gender differences. The only gender differences he sites are regarding the issues of stonewalling which is a result of flooding. He says that men use this more often than women but women also use it.

In addition women tend to use criticism a bit more often and men tend to use contempt a bit more often. He assigns differences to how we evolved. women in order for the species to survive needed to be able to self-sooth in order to produce milk. Men needed to be able to act quickly in times of danger and in the hunt. So over time, humans who had these behaviors survived more often.

He also said that in marriages that don't survive, men are unwilling or less willing to accept influance from their wives.

I also read in the book that it matters not what religious perspective one comes from and that if couples are practicing the 7 principles he teaches, they will have happy marriages. So even in traditional marriages, the couple can have a happy, intimate relationship if they follow his relational plan.


Anonymous said...

I suppose Eggerich based some of his book on the above ideas from Gottman. However, I don't think he was true to Gottman's vision for marriage.

Eggeriches underlying assumptions in the book are complimentarian in my humble opinion.