How to Communicate Better with my Partner: Part III – The four marriage killers 

John Gottman popular psychologist and Social  Scientist has worked with couples for over 40 years and based on his research he identifed communication styles that predict the end of a marriage relationship Termed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and outlined in this blog last week, we need to watch out for the following 4 toxic signs of communication – Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling:


  • 96% of the time, the way a conversation starts in the first 3 minutes, will dictate how it finishes
  • Contempt is the single biggest predictor of divorce
  • 5:1 Magic Ratio – positive to negative interactions
  • Good listening comes from good speaking

The four marriage killers:

  1. Criticism: harsh comments, Attacking your partners personality or character; Put downs; Blaming; These examples make it personal rather then the issue
  2. Contempt: eye rolling, sighing, dismissiveness – what would you know; Intention to insult your partner; Name calling; Sarcasm; Negative body language – saying you are listening but pulling faces, looking in the other direction
  3. Defensiveness: Yes, but… You think you’ve been harshly done by… Places problem with partner; Yes but…. Obstructs communication – nothing gets resolved
  4. Stone Walling: 70% of men do this. Man cave. Don’t face the issue; Removal of self emotionally; Shutting down

 Now what: Daily Debrief

  • A) Speaker *Talk about a stress outside of your relationship
  • B) Listener: *Side with your partner and validate

Homework 2: Affirmation

  • Concentrate on 5 to 1 Positive to Negative.
  • Say positive, encouraging things to each other daily.

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    Tune in next week for more relationship tips @

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