The biggest predictor of divorce is the way that the couple argues; it can lead to increasing negativity and distrust.
The argument starts off negative and accusatory. Research shows that if the argument starts off on a harsh tone it will inevitably end on a negative note, even if there are nice fix attempts. A harsh set up simply dooms you for failure.
The first sign, starts with negativity, the next defines how the discussion unfolds.
THERE ARE FOUR OF THEM:
A. Criticism. Is global and expresses negative feelings or opinions about the person’s character or personality. It often sounds like this “Why are you so forgetful?” Or “You just don’t care.”
B. Contempt. This comes about because of a sense of superiority over your spouse; it is a form of disrespect. Sarcasm and cynicism are types of contempt. So are name-calling, eye rolling, mockery, and hostile humor.
C. Defensiveness. Escalates the conflict. The attacking spouse rarely backs down or apologizes. This is because defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner.
D. Stonewalling. In marriages where discussions begin with a harsh start-up, where criticism and contempt lead to defensiveness- eventually one partner tunes out. The stonewaller acts as though he couldn’t care less about what you’re saying, if he even hears it.
FLOODING. This is when your spouse’s negativity is so intense and sudden that it leaves you shell-shocked. You feel defenseless against their attack.
BODY LANGUAGE. Your heart rate speeds up and you experience a fight or flight sensations when you argue.
FAILED REPAIR ATTEMPTS. Repair attempts are the efforts the couple makes to de-escalate the tension during a touchy discussion, to put on the brakes so that they can prevent flooding. The failure of repair attempts is an accurate marker for an unhappy future.
BAD MEMORIES. Couples that are deeply entrenched in a negative view of their marriage often rewrite their past.
If you find any of the predictors to be familiar to your relationship, I can help. If you have any questions, please give me a call at 631.692.9689.