4 Habits That Will Ruin Your Relationship

4 Habits That Will Ruin Your Relationship

According to a guy famous for his ability to predict with 98% certainty whether a couple would divorce.
8
views

February is finally here — aka the time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to eat an excessive amount of See’s Candies Dark Chocolate Nuts & Chews. Who’s with me?

With the passing of Valentine’s Day, and whether the holiday finds you single as a pringle, or booking a dinner date with bae, the pops of pink and roses red invading grocery stores, Instagram feeds, and advertisements all around are unavoidable.

I'm with those of you in the first category but either way, celebrating the love in our lives doesn't have to be limited to significant others. The holiday of hearts doesn't have to be about what we do or do not have all — but rather a celebration of what we do. This exact day in my life, I only get to live once, and I get to decide how I’m going to live it. Same goes for February 14, and this entire month of love.

Today, I choose gratitude.

Today, I’m thankful for my family and friends, ones who are there in the moments it matters most, and who support me without wavering. I’m thankful for mentors and leaders who walk with and pour into me, each leaving a distinct impression on the person I’m becoming.

Thankfulness is trendy to talk about in November, but it’s applicable the other eleven months as well. We all have things we’re waiting on, whether it be a relationship, career breakthrough, or positive pregnancy test. The longings we feel are real, but so are the blessings we already have — and without gratitude, we run the risk of missing them.

I write this to hold myself accountable more than anything, because I’m far too good on focusing on what I don’t have, rather than what I do. But I want to be a better steward of the blessings God has given me. Specifically, I want to continually learn to love the people I do have in my life better — which brings me to the topic of this post.

As I mentioned here, I’m starting to share more of the resources that challenge and inspire me on the Books + Pretty Words section of my blog. Today, I’m sharing one I discovered in a communication studies class in college, called the Four Horseman of relationships. This metaphor depicting the end times was developed by Dr. John Gottman, professor emeritus in psychology. Gottman is famous for being able to predict with 98% certainty whether or not a couple will divorce. He bases his predictions on whether or not certain habits are present in relationships — key word being habit. Truth is, we’re human and all of these will occur in most relationships at one time or another, but their habitual presence is when Gottman would classify them as a Horseman — a signal that the relationship was likely to have an end date.

Gottman’s research was centered on his work with married couples, but the principles he discovered are applicable to any relationship, hence why we were studying them in a communication class. I don’t think these habits often come up with acquaintances or even good friends we don’t see often. I think they manifest themselves most in the roommate, family, and spouse relationships — people we’re with day in and day out, who are often exposed to our worst. As I was writing this, I tried to think not of times when others, but I myself have had tendencies towards these habits. I challenge you to do the same as you read! Below are the Four Horsemen — four habits that will ruin a relationship.

1. Criticism

Rather than constructively pointing out something that bothered you, criticism is an attack on the person. For example, a complaint would be, “I feel like I’m left to do most of the cleaning on my own. I thought we had agreed to share this responsibility?” Criticism would accuse, “You never do any of cleaning; I always have to do it myself. You’re a lazy, ungrateful slob.” One is a statement on the person’s behavior, whereas the other is shame-driven, and it’s a statement on who they are.

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” - Brené Brown

2. Contempt

This is basically mean-heartedness. As Gottman says, “Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about a person, which come to a head in the perpetrator attacking the accused from a position of relative superiority. The target of contempt is made to feel despised and worthless.” This can be mocking with sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling. Contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce according to Gottman’s work, and he even found contemptuous couples to have weaker immune systems.

3. Defensiveness

Defensiveness is the grappling for excuses when we feel accused, in an attempt to get the accuser to back off. It’s a way of shifting the blame rather than owning it, and it corrodes the opportunity to deal with conflict in a healthy way. It’s often rooted in the mistaken belief that “if I own my bad behavior, it means I myself am bad.”

4. Stonewalling

This is when one person completely checks out, and it’s often a compounded response to being overwhelmed with the first three horsemen. It’s when you see someone completely unresponsive, even in the face of a highly upset or angry partner. Rather than confronting the issues, stonewalling, according to Gottman, “is when we make evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, acting busy, or engaging in obsessive behaviors.”

Discovering these habits doesn't have to mean doom, it can simply be an opportunity to prompt change. What do you think? Did any of these "Horsemen" surprise you? What habits have you found to be detrimental to relationships? Let me know in the comments!

Cover Image Credit: kacinicole.com

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

690940
views

To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To The Friend I Rarely See Anymore

I wish you nothing but the best.

567
views

When we graduated high school, we thought it was the end for us. The distance would ruin us and we wouldn't be able to call ourselves friends. Thankfully, you were my rock for the first year of school. You were the one I turned to when the adjustment was hard or when I needed someone to talk to and just listen. We never lost our connection for a whole year. We proved that nothing could pull us apart no matter how far the distance, no matter the different schedules. We were still best friends.

Another summer came and we only got stronger. We went on countless beach trips, late night hangouts, and Starbucks runs. I didn't even think it was possible to be this much closer to you than we already were. If we weren't together, we would Snapchat or text to never stop the conversation.

Now summer ended, we didn't think twice about losing our connection this time. We had a bond stronger than anyone could fathom. We once again went our separate ways and kept our texting and Snapchat habits.

But something changed.

It must've been the comfort level of sophomore year. It must've been all the new friends we got. It must have been the boys who entered our lives. We don't speak anymore. I haven't seen you since winter break. I haven't texted you since New Year's Eve. Our connection, one that was once thought to be indestructible, came crumbling down with sophomore year. I am not going to lie, sophomore year was the best of my life, but I knew you were missing the whole time. It wasn't the same without you.

I'm not upset you chose to focus your time and life on your new boyfriend. I am happy for you. I am not upset you spend more time with your school friends. I am happy for you. I am not upset you don't text me anymore and killed our streak. I know you're living a happy life. And I am too.

We may have gone our separate ways like we never imagined, but I am happy you are finally happy. Don't forget for one second that I will always be here for you. I will still always answer your text. I will still always be your shoulder to cry on even when no one else is there for you. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope you're doing ok.

Related Content

Facebook Comments