06 Oct Which Couples are Headed toward Divorce?
Did you know that it’s possible to predict, with more than 80% accuracy, which couples are headed toward divorce, just by observing the FIRST 3 MINUTES of a squabble or argument?
First 3 minutes!! I know, crazy, right?!
When researchers at the University of Washington asked couples to discuss a disagreement, unhappy couples began with criticism, rather than a compliant.
If you aren’t sure what the difference is between the two, a criticism is an attack on someone’s character. For example, “You’re so lazy and never think about my feelings.” A complaint is about a specific action or request such as “Could you try to remember to take out the trash more regularly?” (If you’d like more information or a refresher, you can go back and watch my video below about the 4 most toxic behaviors that can destroy relationships.)
In response to a criticism, what did partners do in return?
In unhealthy relationships, partners responded defensively: “I’m lazy? How about the fact that you haven’t painted that room for the past 3 months!” In healthy relationships–even if their partner was critical–they tended to either accept influence (e.g., “Yeah, I know I forget the trash sometimes, I’m sorry honey”) or diffuse the situation when it got too tense. For example, “I think we’re getting a little heated here. Can we take a break and talk about this in an hour?”
Throughout this weekend, we may have moments when we disagree with our partners. When this happens, I urge you to try to use gentle language, specific complaints (rather than criticisms), and accept your partner’s influence. And, if it becomes heated, use affection or humor to diffuse the situation and come back to it when you’re both less upset.
It is these little, seemingly mundane, moments that add up to a lifetime of love. Let’s make each one count!