When engaged in couples or marriage counseling, I envision a resilient, viable, loving relationship has having two strong, flexible arms: with one arm, we build Good Will while with the other, we skillfully navigate our differences or perpetual issues.
With both ‘arms’ fully functioning, a relationship can soar.
The deeper the Good Will, the easier it is to tackle our differences. Simultaneously, the more adept and practiced we are at traversing our conflicts, the greater our Good Will toward one another.
The two combined move us toward greater harmony and resilience.
How to build good will?
Think of Good Will as all those things that brought you together in the first place: the smiles, the laughter, the hanging out, the closeness, the eye contact, the knowing your partner was thinking about you, caring about you. All of this is Good Will.
Intentionally building Good Will is being kind, caring, affectionate, getting at your partner’s back, speaking their love language(s) daily. At least frequently.
How to navigate differences skillfully? Marriage counseling tips:
We all know, this one is more challenging. Rarely did we witness in our childhood homes how to do this. Two aspects are key:
Both of these recommendations are evidence-based, from John Gottman’s 40+ years of research of couples.
With those soundly in place, you can then use Loving Speech/Deep Listening as a tool for navigating differences.