Category Archives: Conflict

Marriage Relationships and Their Healthy Characteristics: Part 2

Marriage Relationships and Their Healthy Characteristics: Part 2

In Part 1, we reviewed characteristics of a healthy marriage.  Unfortunately, when these elements break down, the friendship erodes and the relationship can become very negative. The information that I am sharing with you is based on the work that Dr. John Gottman discussed in his book, “The Science of Trust.”

One of the hallmarks of a marriage in trouble is an increase in negativity.

In fact, it is fairly common in troubled relationships for the negativity to become so permeating that even neutral and positive interactions are viewed through a negative lens. Partners become less receptive to one another’s attempts for connection and either ignore them or express irritation in response.

Unhealthy couples have difficulty managing conflict.

Much of this is due to the increased negativity in the relationship. It’s also common for one or both partners in a troubled relationship to become flooded easily. Conflicts usually escalate into destructive arguments fueled by what Dr. Gottman calls the Four Horseman: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. The most destructive of the four Horseman is contempt.  Contempt happens when one partner takes a position of superiority over the other. When contempt is present, one or both of the partners is not respecting the other. Contempt is the clearest predictor that a couple is likely to divorce.

If these dysfunctional characteristics seem familiar to your marriage, then it’s time to take some marital medicine.  In Part 3, I’ll discuss some options for getting your marriage back on track.

Written By: Jackie Dunagan, LAMFT

 

Marriage Relationships and Their Healthy Characteristics: Part 1

Marriage Relationships and Their Healthy Characteristics: Part 1

If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced a few ups and downs in your relationship.  But do you ever wonder about the health of your marriage?  In his book, “The Science of Trust,” Dr. John Gottman discusses that, even though healthy marriages can vary greatly in how they look, they…

Emotions and Divorce

Emotions and Divorce

When the idea of divorce becomes an unwelcome reality, there are a lot of emotions that drive decision making. Even if you’ve determined to be as gracious and collaborative as possible, guilt, fear, shame, anger, hurt, and pain all make pretty quick appearances. Sometimes people are really caught off guard by the intensity of emotion…

Divorce: Dad or Mom left…now what?

Divorce: Dad or Mom left…now what?

Navigating divorce is difficult. There are many causes for divorce. A few of these are: Affairs Grown apart/fallen out of love Addiction Incompatible Divorce becomes even more complex when there are children involved. Many times, parents become bitter and angry towards each other and it is hard to treat each other respectfully. Even though it…

Experiencing Positive Change in Your Relationships

Experiencing Positive Change in Your Relationships

As a marriage and family therapist, the biggest hurdle that I see individuals and couples face in realizing the goals for their relationships is that they keep doing what they have been doing, in spite of having learned a better way. So, as the Nike ad says, “Just do it.” Lasting change is experiential. Knowledge…

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