So, there is never a guarantee on whether or not a relationship is going to last but there is a guarantee that your relationship will “FAIL” if these next four things remain in your regular interactions with your partner. According to The Gottman Institute and Dr. John Gottman, it can be predicted with over 90% accuracy whether or not a relationship will fail if “The Four Horsemen” are present in your relationship. Let’s review them and start working on getting them out of our interactions with our partners.
Criticism: The act of attacking your spouse’s character or personality and blaming them while stating a complaint that you might have about a situation.
Antidote: Use a gentle start-up where you state how you feel, describe the specific situation, state your need, be polite, and show appreciation.
Example of Criticism: “You always leave dishes for me to wash. You never clean up behind yourself. You’re so lazy and a slob.”
Example of Gentle Start-up: “I feel frustrated when I have to wash dishes every day. Honey, could you please wash dishes on Tuesday and Thursday. I would really appreciate the help on those nights since I work late.
Defensiveness:Responding to an attack by your partner by making an excuse or blaming your spouse. Defensiveness just escalates the argument and increases the tension. Usually the attacking spouse doesn’t back down anyway.
Antidote: Accept responsibility for some part of the problem and openly admit to the part you played.
Example of Defensiveness: “Well, you don’t wash the dishes every day. I washed them a few times last month.”
Example of Accepting responsibility: You’re right, I should wash the dishes more often. I’ll make an effort to do them on the days you come home late.
Contempt: Any verbal comment or body language that implies your partner is inferior, expresses condescension or disgust. Examples of this are eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, name calling, cynicism. This is usually brought on by having on-going negative thoughts about you partner.
Antidote: Describe your feelings and needs; Build a culture of appreciation
Example of Contempt: “I’m coming home to this dirty kitchen again. You’re so inconsiderate. I work and then come home and clean up after you. How do you contribute? Oh that’s right, you don’t!”
Examples of Describing your feelings and needs: “I feel tired and frustrated about the way the chores are divided right now. I would like if we can come up with a chore schedule.
How to build a culture of appreciation:
1)Tell your partner the things you appreciate about them-“I appreciate you planning the meals for the week.”
2)Tell your partner Thank You for the things they already do-“ Thank you for all you do with managing our finances.”
3)Let your partner know how fond you are of them and the things you admire about them- “I am so proud to have you as my partner. I loved watching you work the room at the last week at my work holiday party. People love talking to you.”
Stonewalling: This is when one partner withdraws emotionally and psychologically from the negative interaction while still being physically present.
Antidote: Practice Self-Soothing Techniques
Examples of Stonewalling: One partner is making critical statements and demands, not giving the other partner the opportunity to say anything. The partner on the receiving end is quiet, looking away, showing no emotion, and usually thinking about when the interaction is going to end and avoiding causing the situation to escalate.
Example of Self-soothing: Receiving partner realizes they are feeling overwhelmed by the conversation and needs to calm down. They tell their partner that they need a break but will be back in 20 mins to discuss the issue. During the break the receiving partner does something to relieve stress, while avoiding negative thoughts, like listen to music or go for a walk. The receiving partner makes sure to come back to the topic and conversation at the time stated. The expectation is that the “adult timeout” allows both people to be calmer when revisiting the issue.
What Men Really Want In Relationships!
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