Divorces aren’t easy, and learning how to be with your partner in a relationship takes a willingness to learn how to BE with them and in swallowing that old pill called “pride” that many of us can’t stomach.
Again, I sat down with the lovely Robin Craycroft who not only is a wealth of knowledge on relationships but shares this information willingly and passionately. She is a gem!
In this particular coffee session, we discussed tell-tale signs a divorce is in a couple’s future. In fact, therapist Dr. John Gottman has been studying this for years and he wrote an amazing book chronically what begins happening when divorce is on the horizon, and let me just say it is an interesting topic!
Gottman’s 4 Horsemen of the Apolcalypse – AKA Knowing When A Couple is on the Verge of Divorce
Robin shared that Gottman is a relationship therapist along with his wife and wrote this book after chronicalling several relationships and family sessions over the years. What are the 4 things which arise when you are on the verge of a divorce? Here they are Springfield, Mo!
Let’s be honest, a little bit of criticism in a relationship is good – healthy even! But what Robin talks about here is a bit different. This is more like an attack on your partner. For example, a healthy way of communicating dissatisfaction is by coming from “I” when you speak instead of from “you.”
“I was scared when you were running late and didn’t call me. You usually call to let me know you are on the way.”
This is healthy. This next example is not:
“You are so selfish – why wouldn’t you call me? You never think of me!”
This turns into blaming your partner and the dialog is not open to finding a solution or hearing your partner’s point of view. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – how would you respond if someone talked to you like this?
The second horseman of the divorce Apocalypse is contempt. Parents often do this with their children when they are wailing in the store: “Ohhh, life is so hard. Tell me how difficult your life is,” etc.
But when you do it to your partner, it is just downright disrespectful. Examples of contempt are eye rolling, being contemptuous and belittling your partner.
“Oh, you’re tired? Cry me a river!”
“You think you’ve had it rough? You don’t know what suffering is – you’re a pampered princess who came from a healthy family…”
In a way, contempt is a form of invalidating their feelings and putting down your partner.
Defensiveness can be normal in a relationship, but when it is taken to the extreme of blaming your partner, it is not healthy. For example, you ask your partner if he/she took out the trash and instead of answering yes or no, they immediately become defensive and blame you for it.
“I’ve been so busy and you didn’t remind me. I have other things to do and I didn’t know you wanted it done this red hot minute!”
Taking defense when you feel blamed, but with an unhealthy relationship, many statements can be taken as blame, or can be used as an excuse to get out of a chore or agreement. It’s a way of blaming and attacking your partner from behind a defensive veil.
“Did you call Betty and Ralph to let them know that we’re not coming tonight as you promised this morning?”
“I was just too darn busy today. As a matter of fact you know just how busy my schedule was. Why didn’t you just do it?”
Stonewalling is when one listener withdraws from the conversation. This is very different from saying to your partner, “I can’t talk about this right now because my emotions are rising. I need a few minutes to calm and collect myself.” This is straight-up disrespectful. For example, walking away while the other is in mid sentence, or acting busy and not listening to what the other is saying, etc. In other words, stonewalling is a way of not confronting the issue at hand.
In short, all of these examples point to disrespecting and dehumanizing your partner. Making your spouse feel stupid or smaller than you, treating them like they don’t matter, not listening to them, or nagging them are all signs that divorce is on the horizon for a marriage. Luckily, where there is a problem there are many solutions available. Robin Craycroft is a marriage, relationship and family therapist located here in Springfield, Missouri and she is excellent at creating a safe space for everyone to get out their true emotions. The best part is she offers a free phone consultation in order to understand what to expect from a session or package.
Robin Craycroft’s Deets:
Phone: (417) 210-9175
Wishing you happy and fulfilling relationships Springfield, Missouri!