Warning Signs

In my marriage class we are reading a book called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman Ph. D. and Nan silver. In this book Gottman shares the six signs he watches for when predicting divorce. They are:

  1. Harsh Start-up: when a discussion leads off with criticism and/or sarcasm.
  2. The four Horsemen
    • Criticism: Global and expressed negative feelings or opinions about the other’s character or personality.
    • Contempt: sarcasm and cynicism. Name-calling, eye-rolling, mockery and hostile humor fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about the partner
    • Defensiveness: defensiveness escalates the problem. It is a way of blaming your partner.
    • Stonewalling: when one partner tunes out instead of engaging.
  3. Flooding: a sensation of feeling psychologically and physically overwhelmed.
  4. Body language
  5. Failed repair attempts
  6. Bad memories: When past memories are negative or non-existent.

Knowing these signs can help us combat them in our relationships. So, this week our assignment was to watch for them in our relationships and document the outcomes. I was surprised to see where the horsemen showed themselves.

The most surprising place I found these warning signs was in my interactions with my children. I thought that I was disciplining, or teaching but instead I was slowly destroying our relationships. But, I am grateful I had these flaws pointed out. Now, I know exactly where I need to focus my efforts.

I love my family. My ultimate goal is to have a happy family. I never meant, or even realized, that I was hurting the ones I love the most.

Having these flaws pointed out showed me a lot of important areas to work on. I need to be aware of what I am saying to my children and how it is going to affect our family in the long run. I am so glad that I noticed it this week and I can work on change. It will take a lot of effort but it will be worth it in the long run.


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