Divorce is the last resort for a failing marriage. It happens when the couple is so unhappy that they decide that they are better off alone. According to Gottman and Silver (2000), The most destructive and biggest predictors of divorce and separation are “Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling” (p. 21). Criticism is an overall assassination of a partner’s character. Defensiveness is a way of blaming your partner, which tends to escalate the conflict at hand. Contempt demeans a partner’s character in the form of sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. Criticism, contempt, and defensiveness all lead to an essential tuning out of one partner. Tuning out is called stonewalling your partner to protect yourself emotionally from the turbulence of their onslaughts. “Without help, the couple will end up divorced or living in a dead marriage in which they maintain separate, parallel lives in the same home.” (Gottman, & Silver, 2000, p. 31). Effective marriage interventions will be covered below. The good news is that many marriages can be saved by understanding the components needed for healthy relationships, the factors that contribute to stable marriages, and effective communication.
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