Bend Marriage Counseling Divorce Predictors: Part 1– Contempt

March 13, 2014 by

Contempt is the First Divorce Predictor According to Bend Marriage Counselor

Every couple involved in a long term relationship is bound to go through periods where they fight more and feel less connected to each other. You can’t be involved with someone for years or even decades without some ups and downs, and that’s totally natural.

However, there are certain types of actions and behaviors that studies have shown carry with them a higher chance of eventual divorce if they continue over time. In the next several posts I’m going to talk about five of these behaviors in-depth so that you can know what to watch out for and how to deal with it if you believe that you and your spouse may have a problem.

Today, we’re going to discuss what Dr. John Gottman, the man who revealed and popularized the “four horsemen of the apocalypse,” calls the number one predictor of divorce – contempt.

How Do We Show Contempt and Why Is It So Destructive?

Name-calling. You may think that name-calling sounds juvenile and isn’t something that an adult couple would ever engage in, but unfortunately that’s not the case, and many people don’t even realize that they’re doing it. “Don’t be such an idiot” and “You’re not going to get any help from lazy-ass” are just two ways that we can show our contempt for our partners by calling them names. It may not seem serious, but over time it leads to resentment.

Mocking and eye-rolling. How frustrating is it when you try to do something and your spouse dismisses your attempt by making fun of you or – possibly worse – rolling their eyes? This is one of the worse ways to show contempt because it lowers the person being addressed while elevating the one attacking.

Invalidating emotions. “I really think you’re overreacting.” How many of us have said something similar in the middle of a fight? At the time, you might feel completely justified and even bewildered by your spouse’s reaction, but imagine how you would feel if you were upset and your partner essentially said that the way you felt was silly. This is incredibly dismissive and hurtful, and it tends to cause people to shut down and distance themselves from the person who said it so that they won’t be hurt again.

In all cases, contempt is an awful, destructive thing to introduce into a relationship because it’s basically a way of saying, “I don’t care how you feel.” Who wants to be with a partner who doesn’t care about them? To learn more about contempt and how you can remove it from your relationship and reintroduce positive interactions, call now to set up a Bend marriage counseling session.