Avoiding Friday Night Fights - Part 4: The 4 Signs You Are Headed for Divorce

Do you know what characteristics of a relationship can predict a couple’s likelihood of getting a divorce? Dr. John Gottman is the world’s leading couple researcher, and he has identified four aspects of couple disagreement that indicate a couple may be headed toward divorce. He has labeled these characteristics the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and they include, criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Criticism is when a complaint is attributed to a personal flaw of your spouse. For example, “You are so lazy and left your clothes on the floor again.” Contempt is when a person views themselves as superior to the other person and demeans or degrades the other person. Defensiveness involves a person’s attempt to deflect blame or responsibility for their role in an issue or conflict. And stonewalling is when the listener in a disagreement disengages and refuses to respond to or acknowledge the speaker. Watch out carefully for any of these characteristics in your own marital discord and consider working with a therapist to address these issues before they lead to bigger problems. If you are noticing any of these four characteristics in your own relationship, it may be time to consider getting help from a professional to help you build more healthy conflict resolution strategies and to repair any relational damage that has already occurred.

Lauren Barron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate who specializes in working with premarital and married couples. If you would like to set up a free consultation with Lauren, call her at (713)364-9748.

Avoiding Friday Night Fights is a blog series taking place on every Friday in the month of March. Check back here each Friday, or follow us on Facebook to find out when the latest post has been uploaded.

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