Dr. Doug Burford is a minister, certified spiritual director, and authorized facilitator of two Gottman Institute workshops. He has advanced training in the Gottman Method. Christian Counseling Kansas City.
Dr. Doug Burford is an ordained minister with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He's also a Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, a Licensed Professional Counselor (#2682), and has advanced training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy. He and his wife have been helping couples for decades. Doug holds his Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats in Overland Park, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri).
Dr. Gottman began his research in 1972, in collaboration with Dr. Robert Levenson. He's observed over 3,000 couples in his research lab. He videotaped them talking about pleasant topics, and areas of continuing disagreement. He monitored their heart rate, blood flow velocity, and sweat output, recording moment-by-moment changes. Endocrine and immune function measurements were also obtained, all to understand the success rate of happy couples who were not seeking counseling. He used science to demonstrate age-old biblical teachings about human nature and relationships.
Gottman found that 96% of the time, the way a discussion starts out predicts the way it will end. If you bring up an issue in a harsh way, there is only a 4% change that it will right itself.
Although seen occasionally with all couples, harsh start-ups are highly predictive of divorce when they are prevalent.
Colossians 4:6 "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Proverbs 15:4 "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
Philippians 4:5 "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Gottman emphasizes ways to actively enhance fondness and admiration in a relationship. How you look upon any particular interaction is going to impact how you respond to it. Is your spouse a loving, caring force in your life? Are they trying their best, or are they trying to take advantage of you? Are you grateful or resentful of their efforts to influence you and the direction of your family life?
We teach this to couples in our ongoing Christian Couples Retreats and in Christian Counseling Online.
Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Song of Solomon 41:15 "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh how beautiful. Your eyes are like doves beside the streams of water, bathed in milk and mounted like jewels. Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn sheep coming up from the washing; each has its twin, and not one is lost..."
Turning Toward Instead of Turning Away
"Little connections often." Turning toward is subtle, and learning what to do to reconnect, when these small daily connections are missed, creates loving bonds. When one turns away or against these small bids for connection, partners are left lonely and isolated. Gottman refers to these as "deposits" or "withdrawals" from the Emotional Bank Account.
Thessalonians 2:8 "So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."
Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
Philippians 4:14 "Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."
The majority of problems couples experience in a marriage are perpetual. They are never going to evaporate. For this reason, Gottman refers to the need to "manage" marital conflicts and not "resolve" them. Learning how to dialogue about different perspectives with amusement, respect, and affection is the key.
Ephesians 4:2 "Be patient with each other making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient; for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
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