A marriage therapist has come up with six indicators that could be a sign that your marriage is heading for a divorce, including the habit of avoiding conflict or lack of conflict resolution skills.
Dr. John Gottman, a marriage and family therapist who has conducted studies over the span of 40 years to determine the predictors of divorce, has revealed six characteristics of communication the can predict the likelihood of divorce with 91 percent accuracy, according to the Huffington Post.
The number one predictor of divorce is harsh start-ups. Approaching a conversation or conflict with sarcasm, accusations, criticism or derogatory comments is dangerous for a marriage, he said.
Initiating a conversation harshly will likely result in an acrimonious ending without resolution, he added.
Dr. Gottman identifies contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling as the four horsemen. His research showed that these characteristics of communication with partners drastically increase the likelihood of divorce.
He defined the next characteristic of communication as flooding.
When partners suddenly attack each other with criticism or contempt, leaving the other feeling shell shocked, this results in disengagement and often, over time, leads to contempt, he explained.
Next is body language. When one or both partners become overwhelmed and flooded, it results in physiological changes in the body. Increased heart rate, a secretion of adrenaline and an increase in blood pressure occur and these physiological responses preclude the ability to effectively resolve conflict.
According to Dr. Gottman, flooding triggers a fight or flight response, resulting in disengagement and/or stonewalling by your partner.
Anther warning sign that your marriage will end is when attempts to repair failed.
If conflict is not resolved or stonewalled by one partner, the likelihood of divorce increases, the researcher stated.
The last predictor is preserving bad memories.
Couples who get stuck viewing their relationship through a negative lens end up rewriting history that is often distorted. This extreme negative outlook impacts the historical, present and future perception of the relationship and contributes to the demise of a marriage, Dr. Gottman added.