All relationships have their own unique dynamics and there are plenty of different reasons married couples choose to separate or divorce. However, research by psychologist Robert Levenson of University of California, Berkeley and John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, recently revealed that most divorces can be predicted based on the existence of four tell-tale behaviors. Our Atlanta Divorce Lawyer breaks them down for you.
If you are worried your relationship may be headed towards divorce, read these four predictors of divorce are and how they manifest in a relationship.
Behavior #1 – Stonewalling
Heated, frequent arguments can be a sign of a marriage’s decline, but also the lack of arguments can sometimes be worse. If you or your spouse feel an argument coming on but one or both of you ignores it, this behavior is considered “stonewalling”. You or your spouse might block out one another by walking away, finding distractions, picking up their smart phone, leaving the house, or other means to effectively shut out the other person. When this happens, communication is completely severed, which makes it impossible to address or solve the issue.
Behavior #2 – Contempt
Research by John Gottman says contempt alone is the worst of the four predictors of divorce. Even without the other three behaviors listed, a relationship with contempt could be extremely difficult to survive. Contempt leads one spouse to see the other with scorn or disdain, sometimes even absolute disgust. When this happens, they view their spouse as beneath them, and when a couple is on unequal footing it can be exceedingly difficult to continue to grow and be happy together. In short, the person feeling contempt has effectively closed themselves off from their spouse’s needs or their emotions, which is one step away from giving up on the relationship. When you are no longer able to try to see yourself in your spouse’s shoes, you should question whether contempt is taking over your relationship.
Behavior #3 – Criticism
Normally a person does not like to be criticized, especially by the person they share their life with. Everyone has their faults, but when you start viewing your spouse’s faults as flaws in their character, these little critiques can add up. Not only will you feel upset and annoyed with your spouse, they will eventually grow tired of being censured and scrutinized. Criticism in a marriage can be very dangerous, gathering power over a relationship as it builds up feelings of resentment. Oftentimes, criticism goes hand in hand with contempt.
Behavior #4 – Defensiveness
It isn’t easy to accept your fault in any situation, especially if your error was small. However, if you continually refuse to admit that you were in the wrong or do not acknowledge your own flaws, these defensive behaviors could drive a wedge between you and your spouse. When a spouse is defensive, it makes communication more challenging and even minor, daily conversations and tasks could become frustrating.
To learn more about the research by John Gottman and Robert Levenson, visit BusinessInsider.com for more information.
All married couples have their ups and downs, but if you notice any of these four behaviors plaguing your marriage on a regular basis, consider what you want to do about it. Do you want to fix your marriage, or is filing for a divorce the next step? Whatever you choose, make sure you know your options and legal resources.
Contact our Atlanta Divorce Lawyer today to discuss your divorce case with our family law attorneys.