Monday, April 27, 2009

Four Warning Signs of Marital Meltdown

According to the research of psycholgist, John Gottman, there are 4 warning signs that a marriage is in jeopardy.

1. Things are more negative than positive in the marriage.
All relationships have both positive and negative behaviors. However, in marriages that are healthy, there are 5 times more positive behaviors than negative behaviors. These behaviors include appreciations, acknowledgement, compliments, and affection.

2. Criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling are consistently present in conflicts.
In Gottman's study, over 80% of couples who used these forms of communication in conflict eventually divorced.

3. One or both people in the relationship "flood" while talking about conflicts.
Flooding is when you go into the stress response. You're being flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up as your cognitions become more negative and more irrational. Solving the problems associated with the conflict becomes very difficult and you are more likely to react by using criticism, defendsiveness, contempt and stonewalling.

4. Efforts to repair negativity during a conflicts are unsuccessful.
No one is perfect. When a conflict becomes negative, it's time to make a repair attempt i.e. apologize or acknowledge your partner's point of view. When these efforts are made and are met with negativity or are ignored, the person on the receiving end starts to feel hopeless about the marriage.

If these things are occurring in your marriage, and you would like help in getting back on track to have a better marriage, you can reach me at 512-795-0402. I am located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759. You can find me on my website at