Leading psychologist explores why so many marriages end in divorce
A leading professor, psychologist and self-proclaimed ‘divorce expert’ claims to have identified the top signifiers that a relationship might be falling apart.
Dr John Gottman, of family and relationship research facility, the Gottman Institute, says that ‘contempt’ is the number one killer of marriages and relationships.
This is followed closely by criticism, defensiveness and ‘stonewalling’ – which together he describes as “The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.”
The prominent researcher, who is said to be able to predict an impending divorce with unrivalled accuracy, has recently published a new book entitled Why Marriages Succeed or Fail.
In it, he describes why contempt slowly breeds thoughts of separation.
He says: “When contempt begins to overwhelm your relationship you tend to forget entirely your partner’s positive qualities – or at least while you’re feeling upset.
“[Eventually] you can’t remember a single positive quality or act.
“This immediate decay of admiration is an important reason why contempt ought to be banned from marital interactions,” he adds.
According to Dr Gottman, couples need to work harder to counteract negative thoughts, by “re-building fondness” in their relationships.
This can be achieved by discussing happy memories together and dispelling bad thoughts by focusing solely on the positive aspects of a relationship, he suggests.