THE MAJOR PREDICTORS
& HOW TO AVOID GETTING TRAPPED
After more than two decades of counseling couples, I have found no practice more effective in destroying relationships than the unbridled tongue. The ill-advised and hasty, impatient words that drip from our lips.
If your spouse-to-be habitually exhibit these destructive practices when relating to you or others, you have a clear sign that you should apply the brakes until they obtain help.
A warning sign of a troubled marriage is when complaints turn into criticism. Whereas a complaint focuses on a specific failure, criticism highlights a fault in your partner’s character, such as “The trash was left again – you’re so lazy!”
Criticism, if left unchecked, can lead to the next, more dangerous, practice: contempt.
Contempt is snarling or mocking behavior designed to undermine your partner and make them feel small and useless. Contempt is toxic because it leads to further conflict.
After all, if your partner constantly tells you that you’re useless, you’ll feel compelled to become belligerent and aggressive in return.
Faced with a contemptuous partner, you respond by getting defensive and arguing that your behavior isn’t as bad as they say it is.
For example, if your partner sneers at your spending habits, your response will probably be something like “I don’t spend that much! I know lots of people who spend much more than I do.”Of course, being defensive won’t soothe any problems, it will only lead to more contempt and defensiveness.
When someone has experienced enough contempt and criticism from his partner, he’ll disengage from conversation. Rather than becoming defensive, he’ll respond to an attack with an “Uh-uh,” or “Sure,” or by avoiding face-to-face interaction.
Witnessing the emergence of these negative practices is a sign that a marriage is in jeopardy.
Keep an eye out for them.
Like different battalions in an army these attackers go to fight at different times.
They work with one destructive purpose- to disparage and destroy the relationship bit by bit.
It is virtually impossible to build a strong, healthy marriage when these sentinels of war are present.
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