According to the most-recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 2.1 marriages take place in the U.S. each year. Of these marriages, roughly 44 percent or 924,000 will end in divorce.
The reasons behind a couple’s divorce are often multiple, complex and varied. There are, however, often signs in a marriage which indicate that a couple won’t in fact be together until “death do us part.”
Through his years of research and counseling married couples, famed U.S. psychologist John Gottman has identified four destructive behaviors which he contends often lead to divorce.
Coined “the four horsemen of the apocalypse,” Gottman asserts that, in cases where couples routinely engage in the identified behaviors, he is able to predict with a 93 percent accuracy those couples that will divorce.
According to Gottman, the four behaviors that frequently prove to be the kiss of death for a marriage include contempt, defensiveness, criticism and stonewalling.
When discussing what contempt may look like in a marriage, it often involves cases in which one spouse looks down upon the other and believes that he or she is somehow superior to a spouse.
Contempt is deadly to a relationship as it erodes a spouse’s ability to empathize with and accept a husband or wife for who he or she is.
Much like contempt, being overly critical of a spouse and his or her shortcomings can negatively impact a spouse’s view of a significant other. What’s more, over time, focusing on critical sentiments can result in built up resentment and anger towards a spouse.
Defensiveness and stonewalling are behaviors that tend to surface when spouses disagree or argue. In cases where one spouse always claims to be the victim or refuses to discuss underlying issues that are at the heart of an argument, a couple is likely to become trapped in a destructive cycle of blaming one another and fighting about the same issues over and over again.
While some marriages are worth saving, others may be beyond repair or just plain unhealthy. Individuals who can identify as either engaging in or being the target of one or more of the above-mentioned behaviors have a right to be happy and may want to consider divorce.
Source: Business Insider, “4 behaviors are the most reliable predictors of divorce,” Erin Brodwin, Feb. 17, 2016