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.

References

Aronson, E. (2011). Social animal (11th ed.). New York, NY: Worth.

Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, MN: Hazelden

Fagan, P., Rector, R., Johnson, K., Peterson, A. (2002). The positive effects of marriage: A book of charts. Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation.

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2000). The seven principles for making marriage work. London: Orion.

Lauer, R. H., Lauer, J. C., & Kerr, S. T. (1990). The long-term marriage: perceptions of stability and satisfaction. International Journal Of Aging & Human Development, (3), 189.

O’Leary, K. D., Acevedo, B. P., Aron, A., Huddy, L., & Mashek, D. (2012). Is long-term love more than a rare phenomenon? If so, what are its correlates?. Social Psychological And Personality Science, 3(2), 241-249. doi:10.1177/1948550611417015

Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93119-135. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.93.2.119

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