The first step toward improving or enhancing your relationship is to understand what happens when relationships fail.
Learning about failures can prevent you and your partner from making the same mistakes over and over again, or rescue your relationship if you’re already in that cycle.
Based on Dr. John Gottman’s groundbreaking research in “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” these are the six things that can lead to relationship failure:
The most obvious indicator that a conflict discussion is not going to go well is the way it begins.
The Four Horsemen
Certain kinds of negativity, if allowed to run rampant, are so lethal to a relationship that the Gottman Institute calls them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling.
This means that your partner’s negativity – whether in the guise of criticism or contempt or even defensiveness – is so overwhelming that it leaves you feeling physiologically flooded.
Certain physical changes such as increased heart-rate, sweating or lack of eye-contact are signs of distress and make it virtually impossible to have a productive, problem-solving discussion.
Failed Repair Attempts
Repair attempts are efforts the couple makes to deescalate the tension during a discussion. The failure of these attempts is an accurate marker for an unhappy future together.
In a happy relationship, couples tend to look back on their early days fondly. Struggles or “rough patches” are viewed as something they overcame together.
Learn how to address these relationship red flags by working with a Certified Gottman Therapist. This type of therapy, designed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, uses techniques to help you and your partner learn strategies to manage flooding, improve conflict conversations and repair poor communication.