Dr. John Gottman has studied relationships for more than 40 years. He can predict with 90% accuracy which couples will split and which can go the distance. What causes love to erode and fall apart? What are happy couples doing that helps them stay together? Learn the reasons why couples break up and what you can do to stay together.
“You’re so selfish!”, “You’re an idiot!”, “It’s not my fault we’re always late!”
Dr. John Gottman calls these negative patterns of communication the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ because they will lead to the end of your relationship. In fact, he can predict this relationship failure with over 90% accuracy if the behavior isn’t changed.
So, what can you do?
At Karen Furey Counseling, I understand that you may not know you’re communicating this way. Or, you might not know how to control it. However, if you practice the following four research-based antidotes, there is hope for your future!
Criticism attacks the character of your partner, instead of focusing on your partner’s specific behavior.
How to improve: the antidote to criticism is to talk about your feelings with “I” statements and then express a positive need.
Contempt is an expression of superiority that comes out as sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. Contempt is the greatest predictor of relationship failure and must be eliminated.
How to improve: The antidote for contempt is to treat one another with respect and build a culture of appreciation within the relationship.
Defensiveness is self protection through righteous indignation or playing the victim. Defensiveness never solves the problem and it’s really just an underhanded way of blaming your partner.
How to improve: The antidote to defensiveness is to accept responsibility. Even if only for part of the conflict.
Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the conversation without resolving anything. It takes time for the negativity created by the first three Horsemen to result in Stonewalling. But when it does, it can become a habit.
How to improve: The antidote to stonewalling is to break for at least 20 minutes, calm down, and then return to the conversation.
How Couples Counseling Can Help
Sparing your relationship from certain destruction is possible. I help couples overcome their communication issues through couples counseling and marriage therapy, teaching the skills and habits of couples who thrive! Counseling helps you reconnect with your partner and learn the skills to properly solve problems in your relationship productively, without unhealthy conflict. If you’re interested in learning the tools to find balance in your relationship, give me a call. I can help.