What is The First Step to Fix Your Marriage?
The First Step to Fix Your Marriage may be the hardest, but it is well worth it
Drs Julie and John Gottman, my teachers in the Couples Therapy course I did, talk about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These are Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. To see Dr. John Gottman talking about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse see here.
Today I just want to talk about Criticism. Every time you say something using the words “You always” or “You never” it is a criticism. In fact, if you are in the habit of always criticizing your spouse, almost anything you say will be taken as a criticism. Your habit of criticism has unfortunately conditioned your partner to react with defensiveness to everything you say. It is their way of protecting themself, but is in itself harmful to the relationship. But don’t worry, together we will fix this!
Please don’t beat yourself up about this either. It is not your fault that your grew up learning unhelpful habits of communication. The good news is if your were able to learn the unhelpful ones, you are also able to learn the helpful habits.
Take The Challenge Today
Today I challenge you to avoid describing your partner’s behaviour in any way that they could construe as negative. It is harder than it sounds, especially if it is an ingrained habit. But try and notice when you do it and stop yourself mid-sentence. Or better still try and catch yourself before you even start the tirade of criticism.
Avoiding Criticism is only the The first step to fix your marriage. In my next post I will tell you more about how to avoid criticism and what to replace it with.
If you want to read more about how to fix a damaged relationship, click here.