Her Marriage Is on the Rocks. Can She Prevent a Breakup?
My marriage is on the rocks, but I don't want to get a divorce. Can you tell me the divorce danger signs and what I might do to prevent a breakup? -- M.
Marriage today is hard work. In years past it was held together by family pressures, economic issues (not as many women worked), and the religious community. Today many of these external factors have little influence, and staying together is based largely on a couple's feelings for each other.
These feelings often move into the negative column and can spiral downward, pushing the positive reasons you got together into the twilight zone and making them difficult to recall.
Dr. John Gottman, in his research at the University of Washington, has identified four major negative behaviors that spell D-A-N-G-E-R for couples and can lead to divorce.
When we criticize, we attack our partner's personality or character: "You never do anything right." Criticism often involves blame and can escalate so that spouses get into a criticize-blame cycle.
Complain, which is more specific and limited to the situation at hand. Say, "I am upset because you picked me up late." Complaining can be a healthy way to let off steam, while criticizing is a personal attack.
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