Shut up!

At the beginning of Maya’s Gold, my characters, Stanton Black and Maya Valentine argued at the drop of a hat. I like to put that kind of verbal bantering in my stories, because I think it can add humor and, I hope, sexual tension. But in real life, I’ve always thought of fighting as a bad thing or something to prevent from happening.

I learned a lot in the Psychology class I took last spring. One topic I remember very clearly had to do with male female relationships and arguing. Psychologist John Gottman, who is known for his five-to-one-ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions in relationships, says that verbal fighting, whether rare or frequent, is sometimes the healthiest thing a couple can do for the relationship. In fact, blunt anger, appropriately expressed, seems to immunize marriages Gottman also states that, couples who start out complaining about each other have some of the most stable marriages over time, while those who do not fight early on are more likely to face the road to divorce.

What to do with the rest of us who can’t open up like Maya and Stanton? Maintain the five-to-one ratio, Gottman says. And that men should help with the housework, but that is another story.