Well-known psychologist Dr. John Gottman has done decades of work regarding marital stability and divorce prediction. He has identified what he calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” capable of killing any marriage if not stopped. The four horseman are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. These four are not only indicative of marital homicide, but are also very deadly in other relationships be it friendship, parent-child, or at work.Below is a helpful pictorial and a link to a video from Dr. Gottman defining the four horsemen and helpful corrective responses. Take some time to reflect and even ask those closest to you to identify if any of these are present in your communication style specifically when things are not going as you expected. If so, actively begin implementing the antidotes remembering that research has shown that for every one negative response we have we need five positives to make up for it.Active reflection and intentional change will go a long way in decreasing conflict and maintaining stable, happy relationships.
PDF: The Four Horsemen