Want to improve your marriage? Read about the 4 Killers in a Marriage: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness & Stonewalling

These 4 behaviors can be fatal to the health of a marriage:

  1. Criticism versus Complaint. A complaint addresses only the specific action at which your partner has failed. A criticism is global. It attacks the mate's character or personality. Here is an example: Complaint: “There is no gas in the car. I’m aggravated that you didn’t fill it up like you said you would.” Criticism: “You never remember anything! You can’t be counted on for your word!”
  2. Contempt. Contempt is composed of a set of behaviors that communicate disgust. It includes, but is not limited to: sneering, sarcasm, name calling, eye rolling, mockery, hostile humor and condescension. It is primarily transmitted through non-verbal behaviors. It does not move toward reconciliation and inevitably increases the conflict. It is always disrespectful. Research shows couples that display contempt for each other suffer more illnesses and diseases than respectful couples.
  3. Defensiveness. These behaviors convey the message, “The problem is not me. It’s you.” From this position you imply that, because your partner threw the first stone, they are responsible for the entire conflict. You avoid taking responsibility for your own behavior by pointing to something they did prior to their complaint about you. You do not acknowledge that which is true in what they are saying about your behavior.
  4. Stonewalling. In relationships where intense arguments break out suddenly, and where criticism and contempt lead to defensiveness, and where more contempt leads to more defensiveness, eventually one partner tunes out. This is the beginning of stonewalling. The stonewaller acts as if he/she couldn’t care less about what the partner is saying or doing. He/she turns away from conflict and from the relationship. Any form of disengagement can be stonewalling.

Work on these killers and turn these behaviors around in addition to praying for your partner and the relationship as beginning steps to success and happiness of your relationship. 

Look for more next week!

Love,

Yvette Cheeks

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