Quick Relationship Assessment
“The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” –Shaw
The Four Death Knells for Your Relationship
A psychologist, Gottman, studied thousands of married couples over decades and discovered patterns about how partners relate to each other, which can be used to predict – with 94% accuracy – which relationships will succeed, and which will fail. He says that each “horseman” paves the way for the next. These four attitudes predict the dissolution of a relationship, especially when used in combination (in order of least to most dangerous). In short, you may use the following information as a quick relationship assessment. See if you practice any of the following behaviors.
This strategy is an assault your partner’s character, many times with the intent of proving you right and your partner wrong. A fundamental tactic here is the use of generalizations such as “you always…” “you never…” you’re the type of person who …”; and “Why are you so …”
This strategy attacks your partner’s sense of self with the intent to insult or psychologically abuse him/her. Tactics here include the following items: Insults and name calling, such as “Wimp, fat, stupid, ugly, slob, lazy…”; Hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery, such as “Yeah, you are REAL skinny; and/or Body language & tone of voice, such as sneering, rolling your eyes, curling your upper lip, etc.
The strategy here is to portray yourself self as the victim to stave off a perceived attack. Some tactics used here may include the following things:
- Excuses (e.g., external circumstances beyond your control forced you to act in a certain way) “It’s not my fault…”, “I didn’t…”
- Cross-complaining: meeting your partner’s complaint, or criticism with a complaint of your own, ignoring what your partner said.
- Disagreeing and then cross-complaining “That’s not true, you’re the one who …”
- Yes-butting: start off agreeing but end up disagreeing.
- Bullying with repetition without paying attention to what the other person is saying.
- Whining… “It’s not fair.”
This strategy is by far the worst of the four and withdraws from the relationship to avoid conflict. Partners may think they are trying to be “neutral”, but stonewalling conveys disapproval, distance, separation, disconnection, and/or smugness. The tactics here include the following behaviors: Stony silence; Monosyllabic mutterings; Subject changing; and/or Removing yourself physically.
If you or your spouse are committing these attacks in your relationship, you increase the risk of a very dissatisfied relationship or divorce. If you practice one of them routinely, make the change and get help now. Call me now and I can help you with tactics to practice and change these negative patterns. If you practice all four of the strategies regularly, play Taps for your marriage and find a good lawyer.
By the way, if you are single and wondering why your relationship is going nowhere, assess where you or your partner are in the above destructive patterns and contact me now if you wish to change these patterns. I have tactics to help you. The rest is up to you.
In my next blog, I will share with you a strategy and tactics to combat the above assaults and greatly improve your communication with your partner.
Here’s to a Better Relationship,