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Four Signs that Your Marriage is Heading Towards Divorce

 Posted on July 28, 2022 in Divorce

Novi divorce attorneysJohn Gottman and his wife, Julie, are relationship researchers who have spent almost four decades trying to discover the secret sauce to making a marriage last. Along the way, they have studied thousands of couples and created a couple’s therapy program that proponents say is highly effective. Unfortunately, not every marriage is destined to last and during their research on the marriages that fail, the Gottmans discovered four communication styles that can predict the end of a relationship is near. If you recognize any of these styles in your marriage, it may be time to speak with a Michigan divorce attorney


While even the most loving spouses must be open to receiving occasional criticism from each other as a way to grow and learn, the criticism the Gottmans identify as being existentially threatening to a relationship is the kind that targets a person’s innate character rather than a particular behavior. Pervasive criticism can be hard to stop and difficult to forgive, making the following behaviors more likely. 


Every person who has ever been in a relationship is familiar with the behavior of preparing your rebuttal before the other person has a chance to finish what they are saying. This kind of defensiveness - seeking excuses, playing the victim, and ignoring a partner’s valid perspective - is counterproductive to genuine communication. Defensiveness seeks to place blame on the other partner rather than seeking understanding. 


When one person shuts down and withdraws from the conversation, they are stonewalling their partner. Not to be confused with taking a break but intending to come back later, stonewalling is a deliberate effort to refuse to engage with your partner. While it may be easy to feel “psychologically flooded” enough that stonewalling seems like the only response, an easy alternative is to let your partner know that you are too overwhelmed and angry to talk at the moment but that you are committed to returning to the conversation once you have both calmed down. 


When couples treat each other with cruelty, sarcastic mockery, name-calling, and rude body language, they are treating each other with contempt. It is impossible to have a good faith conversation with someone who feels morally superior to someone else and is intent on making that superiority clear. Contempt is usually driven by spouses who focus exclusively on their spouse’s negative aspects, forgetting not only that their spouse has great things about them but that they themselves are lacking in certain respects. The Gottmans found that contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and, once it enters into a relationship, it is very difficult to get rid of. 

Call a Farmington Hills Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

While it can be painful to acknowledge the signs that your relationship is headed for divorce, is it important to be realistic and plan for the future. If you anticipate getting divorced in the near future, or even if you just have questions and want to be prepared, schedule a complimentary strategy session with the Oakland County divorce attorneys with Elkouri Heath, PLC. Call us today at 248-344-9700




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