Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Negativity Effect (Bias)

In the Kyeongyang magazine a member of the Committee for Families of a diocese, writes on couples fighting. He  tells the readers  the only way not to fight is not to get married. 

Two people living together will naturally have differences of opinion, actions, and values because of the many different temperaments.  Fortunately, this is the case because when the bond is irreparably  broken, friction disappears, you are living by yourself.

"We have never fought" often this kind of expression comes from a couple where one is not comfortable in expressing their feelings. Outside the home, they are seen as a devoted couple but in the home treat each other coldly and may be seen as  a show-window couple: often known my the mass media.

In these marriages, on the surface, all seems well but the hidden conflict is like a time bomb that is set to blow. Suddenly we have one leaving the home, divorcing and even suicide. Often this is part of the living condition and fighting is a help in finding solutions. Not the lack of fighting but the wise resolving of the problems by confronting them. " A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one crushes the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4).

He mentions a couple going to a marriage counselor for help and asked to give an example of how they fight for 3 minutes. The counselor  seeing the way they fight predicts pretty accurately whether the marriage will last or not if they continue. The article introduces us to John Gottman who is able to predict with 97% accuracy the outcome of a marriage if they continue as in the past.

He is not interested in what they are fighting about but in the way they fight. Are they aiming at the others weak points, scars from the past and humiliating the others very being? A sign that they are running towards complete collapse.

On the other hand when the emotions are under control, and they don't work on the others scars and weak points and have not lost their sense of humor, no matter how passionate they are the results will be good. Like children after fighting they can become closer than they were.

He gives us a ratio of relating positively 20 times more than negatively with your spouse. In simple language, if it is: praise--blame--praise--blame in a one and one ratio the relationship will not last. The reason is that negativity is much more powerful. [people remember longer and give more weight to negative information than positive--the negativity effect].  John Gottman  advises  in small things:  "I am sorry,  thanks,  I love you" and other similar words  of encouragement.  One can believe this is not necessary since these feelings are present, but that is a mistake for there is a need to  express  one's feelings.

In most  cases, it is not  hating the other but  misunderstandings because of the inability to communicate our thoughts and feelings. As St. Don Bosco is quoted saying: "Loving is not enough love must be felt."

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