Marriage Minute: There are two sides to stonewalling

Sometimes, an argument with your partner can get so overwhelming that you shut down and withdraw from interaction. You’re probably feeling flooded, maybe even panicked, and you might even be trying to protect yourself.

But your partner may not see it that way. Instead, they could perceive an act of stonewalling as you purposely ignoring them.

Those are the two sides to stonewalling, and if it happens often, it’s easy to start entrenching yourselves on opposite sides of that wall.

Fortunately, there’s a way to break down that wall, and that’s to ask for a break, but it can be very hard to come up with the right words to ask for a break when you’re flooded.

So, you and your partner should agree, ahead of time, on how to take a break when one of you gets flooded, such as a “timeout” signal or some kind of word or phrase that both of you can use. Then you and your partner will be able to respect the other’s need for a break.

Once you take a break, take a half hour alone to calm down and self-soothe, and when you feel calm, you’ll be ready to resume the discussion from a rational state of mind.

Additional reading

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 15 May 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: Do common interests keep you together?

Nope. No way. Not even close.

“Having common interests” is one of the relationship myths that “experts” spread around like wildfire. Kind of like “never go to bed angry” or “marriage is 50/50.”

With all due respect to your beloved Aunt Sharon, she’s wrong.

However, sharing common interests can be a great way to connect. If you can engage in, say, kayaking together in a positive way that you both enjoy, great!

But if you end up arguing or criticizing each other about proper paddle strokes, then that just paves a road for resentment. So it’s really about how you interact, not what you do together.

To make your relationship solid, stable, and sound, then you need to ditch the myths and learn the facts, and we’re here to help you do that.

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 22 May 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Spouse Focus Group – 7 June

There will be a Spouse Summit June 19th at Joint Base Andrews to examine spouse perspectives when it comes to factors that contribute to a family’s decision to stay in or separate from the military.

Feedback is being requested in 5 areas:

  • Relocation
  • Family Separations (i.e. deployments, TDYs, remotes)
  • Spouse Employment
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Child Education

Each base is hosting a local focus group to provide feedback for consideration at the June Summit.

Ours will take place Thursday, June 7th from 10:30 AM -12:00 PM here at the A&FRC. This invite is open to all spouses of military members and we will take the first 30 sign ups.

Please call (605) 385-4663  to RSVP. Deadline to sign up is June 1st.

Marriage Minute: The magic relationship ratio

After researching thousands of couples for decades, The Gottman Institute discovered a number of facts about successful relationships. But one important fact stands out among the rest:

The magic relationship ratio is 5:1.

Five to one of what? Simply put, successful and lasting relationships must have a ratio of five positive interactions for every single negative interaction, and it is the difference between the “masters” and “disasters” of relationships.

In other words, disasters fall below 5:1, but masters keep their positive to negative ratio of interactions at 5:1 or above, and sometimes even as high as 20:1!

Fortunately, most positive interactions in relationships are small, everyday gestures of kindness, affection, and appreciation. If you’re worried that you’re not hitting 5:1, try creating some positive, daily rituals of connection in your relationship.

To learn more, click here to watch Dr. John Gottman explain the 5:1 ratio.

Additional reading:


The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 10 May 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Spaces Still Available for Spouse Appreciation Glass Blowing Event – 12 May

In collaboration with Outdoor Recreation, we have organized a glass blowing experience for our spouses in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Spaces are extremely limited, as there are only 13 spots remaining!

Out of the original 25 spaces, we have only filled 12. Please call 605-385-4663 to reserve yours ASAP and see below for additional information! Thank you to ALL of the Ellsworth AFB spouses, you are appreciated!

Who: All EAFB military spouses

What: FREE glass blowing lesson and your choice of a masterpiece to create, along with a keepsake from the artist.

When: 12 May 18, 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Meeting at Outdoor Rec parking lot on Saturday, 12 May, at 11:30 AM, for a departure around 12:00 PM. The event/class will be held from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM with departure at 4:00 PM, for an arrival back at Ellsworth around 5:00 PM. (Free transportation is provided).

Where: Mind Blown Glass Blowing Studio in Deadwood, SD

Why: To appreciate our spouses