How do relationships deteriorate?
Even without children, relationships are tough, no matter how much we love our partners or how hard we try to make them work. Throw some children in the mix, and it can often feel like our relationship is at breaking point…
At one point or another, most of us have found ourselves making a snarky remark or being unkind to the other person (this can involves some judgement on how the other interacts with children). It leaves both parts of the couple feeling sad and hurt or guilty. We promise ourselves that was the last time we did it and then, inevitably, fall into the trap again…
For some couples, these episodes are occasional and both parties can move past them (usually due to healthy communication and both people taking responsibility for their actions).
For other couples instead, these episodes are harder to avoid and to move past. Sometimes they are exacerbated by an event (e.g. loss of a job, death of a close one, affair) and sometimes instead they happen because of fundamental differences. Regardless, too many of these episodes can affect the couple dynamic to the point of no return.
So how do we take care of our relationship? How do we give it the best chance at succeeding?
What can you do about it?
Apparently, four types of communications are key predictors of divorce: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling.
Most couples will have elements of these, but healthy couples use them less frequently and do more to repair them when they are used.
It goes without saying that this is not meant to be a tool to predict how well your relationship is going. These are elements that you should look out for and try to avoid and improve on.