Marriage is a complex and long-term commitment that requires constant input and effort from both partners. However, despite all efforts, many marriages do end in divorce. Psychologists have long investigated this problem and have tried to identify factors that may predict divorce. One of the leading experts in this field is Dr. John Gottman, who calls these factors “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Contempt is a non-serious attitude toward a partner’s problems, which can take the form of name-calling, sarcasm, hostile humor, and mockery. Contempt creates a negative atmosphere in a relationship and undermines respect for one another. Studies show that contempt is the strongest predictor of divorce.
Constant attacks on a partner’s character, beliefs, personality, appearance, or actions are another factor that can lead to divorce. Criticism creates negative attitudes toward each other and intensifies conflicts.
3. Defensive Reaction
When you are approached with criticism or advice, you may deny your responsibility and shift the blame to the other. This is called a defensive reaction and it can also contribute to divorce. Instead of solving problems and looking for compromises, partners start acting like enemies.
Refusing to communicate by ignoring or pretending to be busy is another factor that can lead to divorce. When partners stop communicating and expressing their feelings and needs, the relationship becomes cold and emotionally disconnected.
Dr. Gottman’s research shows that couples who have these “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” divorce an average of 5.6 years after marriage, while emotionally disconnected couples divorce an average of 16.2 years after marriage. This confirms the importance of these factors and their impact on long-term marital stability.
However, it is worth noting that divorce is predicted not only by psychological factors, but also by a host of other social, economic and legal factors. In the United States, for example, divorce rates have undergone a number of changes since the 19th century that have been linked to broader social trends. In the 1970s, when it became easier to legally divorce in many states, there was a dramatic increase in divorce rates.
So, to save a marriage and avoid divorce, you need to consider these four factors and work on them. It is important to express your feelings and needs, avoid contempt and criticism, be willing to communicate constructively, and constantly work on developing tenderness and admiration for each other.