I had a great conversation this week with Allan Mathews from church and a friend who is about to get married. Allan is a trained counsellor and all round wise guy! We ended up speaking about the things that put great strain on a marriage, and the things that lead to a healthy, loving marriage. So, this is part 1 in a little series on marriage (the next one will be the 7 things great marriages have in common).
Every marriage is made of two imperfect people seeking to love each other. I know that the things below can creep into any marriage (um, hello, I thought I invented defensiveness). For all of our good intentions going into marriage we bring different ways of feeling loved, communicating, dealing with conflict and what we think is normal from watching our own parents.
As you read what Allan has sent me, if you recognise some of these traits in your marriage, then don’t be afraid seek some help. We get our cars checked and serviced every year… surely our marriages are even more important, and are worth investing in! So… over to Allan.
The 4 pointers to divorce or relationship break-up in 5 years
After extensive research an American Psychologist John Gottman has put together 4 indicators of a marriage that’s in trouble and will probably end in 5 years. He calls them the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
These indicators are:
Criticism – verbally attacking a partner’s character or personality.
Contempt – attacking a partner’s sense of self with an intention to insult or psychologically abuse them.
Defensiveness – seeing yourself as the victim in efforts to ward off a perceived attack and to reverse the blame.
Stonewalling – Withdrawing from a relationship as a way to avoid conflict in efforts to convey disapproval, distance and separation.
The troubles normally start with one of the above manner of communicating (thinking) and quickly develop into all four. The earlier you recognise that there are issues between you and your partner, and take steps to deal with those issues, the more likely you are to build a sound marriage.
Seeking out help in sorting out issues from a professional counsellor early will save a lot of pain and distress later.
(part two to come…)