Middle aged couple sitting on the couch having a dispute at home in the living room

4 signs your relationship may be in trouble

(From John Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse)

  1. CRITICISM: attacking your partner’s personality or character with the intent of proving yourself RIGHT and them WRONG
  2. CONTEMPT: attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intent of hurting or psychologically damaging them
  3. DEFENSIVENESS: seeing yourself as a righteous victim as a means of staving o? an attack
  4. STONEWALLING: verbally and/or physically withdrawing from the conversation or relationship as a way to avoid con?ict

5 skills to move you toward a healthy relationship

  1. Portrait of happy couple isolated on white background.Make specific, behavioral complaints and requests, then state the reasonable outcome you are hoping to see
  2. Listen as a means of UNDERSTANDING your partner’s point of view. Validate their thoughts and ideas even if you don’t agree with them.
  3. Claim responsibility for what you CAN control in the relationship. Ask yourself what you can learn from this and what you can do to improve the relationship.
  4. Let your partner know the qualities you DO appreciate about them on a daily basis.
  5. Learn to detach from your defensiveness. Recognize that your partner’s words are just verbalized thoughts, commonly spoken in anger.