The ‘Four Horsemen’ That Can Predict If You Will Divorce

Divorce is the big D word that no one in a marriage wants to think about, but we all know it happens even to couples whose relationship was once happy and strong. If you’re struggling with your relationship — or you’re just a person who prefers to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to your marriage — you might be wondering if there’s anything that could help you and your partner avoid divorce altogether. .

Dr. John Gottman, renowned psychologist and relationship expert, is known for his work on predicting divorce. After studying thousands of couples quarreling in his laboratory, he identified certain negative patterns predicting divorce, which he called “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse “. This means that if they keep showing up in your marriage, you can be sure that you are heading for a divorce. court.

However, with knowledge comes power. Once you know what these patterns are, you can understand how and when they show up in your marriage. Rebecca Phillips , a licensed professional counselor, shares her thoughts on the Four Horsemen and how you can prevent this behavior, look better in front of your partner and yourself – and in turn, keep your marriage intact.

Criticism in marriage

“To criticize is to express the opinion of another person,” says Phillips. “Criticism is different from criticism or confrontation. The latter entails problem solving, while the former is about attacking your partner’s character.

Phillips says criticism is destructive because it causes pain and loss of consciousness.

“Criticism can become a vicious and chronic pattern that leads to another rider,” she says, “for example, defensiveness and contempt.”

Criticism sounds like this: “Why are you taking out the trash like that? You never do anything right.” Or: “I’m always trying to talk to you, but you never listen to me.”

According to Phillips, to prevent criticism, it’s important to use “I” rather than “you” statements when you’re in a confrontation or conflict.

Instead of saying, “You never answer me. You are so inconsiderate of others,” try saying, “I worry when I don’t get a response to my calls or messages.” Instead of saying, “You never stand up to your mother. You should care more about her opinion than about mine,” try saying, “I would feel more supported if you stood up for me next to your mother.”

contempt in marriage

“Contempt is essentially a display of superiority over your partner,” says Phillips. “This can be defined as disrespecting your partner, mocking him, making fun of him, calling him names and using sarcasm.

According to the Gottman Institute, disrespect is the biggest predictor of divorce . “It usually develops when negative thoughts about a partner build up and become disparaging,” says Phillips.

The contempt is: “You really shouldn’t be wearing this outfit. Why can’t you wear regular clothes? Or, “You are such an idiot. You never make sense.”

To prevent dismissive behavior, it is essential that partners treat each other with respect and appreciation.

Instead of saying, “What are you complaining about? You sit in the back seat at the office all day and then just play online games. What a pity,” say, “Looks like you had a hard day. I can link. How can we make tonight better?”

Protection in marriage

“Defensiveness often comes from criticism,” says Phillips. “People often get defensive when they feel their partner is judging them rather than being met with empathy and understanding.”

She says that protection not only devalues ​​what your partner is trying to communicate, but also ensures that neither side can get through to the other. A defensive reaction might sound like this: “Why are you asking me to wash the dishes? You know, I had a long day at work. You are at home all day. Why don’t you just make them?”

Swap defensive for non-defensive reaction, Phillips suggests. The insecure response involves listening to your partner’s point of view and taking personal responsibility.

Instead of saying, “I’m hiding something from you just because of how you always react,” try saying, “I understand that you want me to be more open, and this will help our relationship. Can we discuss what we both need to communicate better?”

Married stone wall

“Shyness occurs when a partner becomes emotionally overwhelmed and is often a reaction to contempt,” says Phillips. “Stoning entails shutting down, withdrawing, or being cold towards your partner.”

According to Phillips, fire is an inefficient way to cope with difficulties. “It can easily become a destructive model in a relationship, creating a lot of distance between partners and leaving issues unaddressed. The stone wall essentially creates a wedge in which one partner feels fenced off from the other.”

A stone wall looks like avoiding eye contact, refusing to text or call back, pretending to be busy, or ignoring your partner in the same room.

“It’s important to control your emotions when you’re emotionally overwhelmed,” says Phillips. “Instead of shutting yourself off altogether, try to communicate that you need to calm down before continuing the conversation.”

Instead of walking away, talking silently, avoiding eye contact, or doing something else while ignoring your partner, try telling your partner that you need some time to collect yourself before continuing the conversation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *