Advertising
Advertising

4 Not-Obvious Signs Your Relationship Is In Trouble

4 Not-Obvious Signs Your Relationship Is In Trouble

Unfortunately, there’s no alarm that magically signals the start of relationship problems. Usually, problems creep up on a couple, affecting their lives in ways that seemingly have little to do with the relationship.

After several exchanges where he feels disrespected by his wife, a husband may suddenly begin to find reasons to spend more and more time at work. A wife, feeling lonely and unimportant, may begin to have a short fuse with the kids and her husband. And this hypothetical couple may have no idea their workaholic or irritable tendencies actually stem from their relationship problems.

Advertising

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to detect relationship problems before they do lasting damage to your life, your well-being, or your relationship itself?

Relationship researcher, John Gottman, investigated just that by observing and comparing patterns of behavior in happy vs. unhappy couples. He came up with four behaviors which he dubbed, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” and concluded these are the behaviors that best predict deterioration of relationships. Here are Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, AKA “four not-obvious signs your relationship is in trouble.”

Advertising

1. You criticize

Criticism is a destructive relationship habit. Criticism means putting down your partner’s character or behavior. Instead of criticism, healthy couples explain how they feel and make direct requests. In healthy couples, critical comments such as,  “You never do the dishes,”  are replaced with I-statements and direct requests such as, “I feel overwhelmed when I come home to a messy kitchen. Could you please put your dishes in the dishwasher before I get home?” If you want to rid your relationship of criticism, practice beginning your statements with, “I feel…” and then ask your partner for what you want directly.

2. You hold contempt

Contempt is any form of disrespect or ridicule. It can be name-calling, belittling, sarcasm or any other communication meant to show disgust, disregard or disdain. According to Gottman, contempt is the single biggest predictor of divorce. Healthy couples think in terms of other-appreciation and self-responsibility, and are able to truly validate and empathize with another person. If you want to rid your relationship of contempt, these mindsets and skills do much to fight off the second horseman.

Advertising

3. You are defensive

Defensiveness is exactly as it sounds: Automatically defending your position. This occurs at the expense of understanding or validating the other person’s position, and is usually a trigger for the other person to also become defensive. Examples of defensiveness are making excuses for your behavior, changing the subject to what your partner did wrong, and justifying your behavior. Instead of being defensive, healthy couples practice daring to see the others’ statements as understandable and true according to their partners’ perspective.

4. You stonewall

“Stonewalling” is withdrawing from the conversation or from the relationship for the sake of avoiding conflict. This could occur in the form of “the silent treatment,” walking away, leaving the house, refusing to talk, or nonsensical mutterings. The solution to “stonewalling” is self-awareness and self-control to indicate that you are too upset to speak constructively, but would be willing to come back to the conversation after a given amount of cool-down time (20 minutes to a few hours). Thus, there is no avoiding the topic or the relationship partner. A relationship without stonewalling is a relationship in which problems and conversations are addressed instead of being swept under the rug or ignored.

Advertising

If any of these signs sound like a habit of yours or your partner, the good news is, researchers have found couples are able to change these habits with guidance and practice. Couples counseling may be a helpful way to learn and practice alternative communication strategies if you notice any of “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” trampling over your relationship.

Featured photo credit: taliesin via http

More by this author

Date Someone Who Can Do These 10 Things To Make You Happy 8 Practical Tips for Parents of Kids with ADHD 12 Ways To Teach Your Children The Skill Of Empathy 8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse The Best Thing a Parent Can do for a Highly Emotional Child.

Trending in Communication

1 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track 2 How the 5 Love Languages Help Strengthen Your Relationship 3 17 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do 4 Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It) 5 14 Things That Make You Happy And Enjoy Life More

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 11, 2020

17 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

17 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

Life is a series of stories, and each one of us has a unique story to tell. Billions upon billions of stories and no two are exactly the same. If the story of your life has been filled with more sad moments than happy ones, it’s time to change that. And the best place to start is within your head.

You have the power to create the life you want. One crucial skill that will help you get there is learning how to become emotionally strong. The good news is emotional strength is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

Once you believe you are strong emotionally, you will unconsciously act stronger than before and begin to take control over your emotional whims. – Senora Roy

In this article, you’ll learn how to be strong emotionally. Here’re 17 things emotionally strong people don’t do … so you can start creating the existence you’ve always imagined for yourself.

1. They don’t beg for attention.

Emotional strength means confidence, and confident people don’t need to constantly be the center of attention. They’re comfortable in their own skin.

2. They don’t allow others to bring them down.

Emotionally strong people ignore the haters and the naysayers. They weed these people out and surround themselves with positive people instead.

3. They don’t stop believing in themselves.

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s:

They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.

When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – Walt Disney

Soak up these amazing words from Walt Disney. Because belief is the most essential quality of emotional strength.

4. They’re not afraid to love.

Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World. – Paulo Coelho

People who possess emotional strength have experienced heartbreak. But it doesn’t hold them back … it makes them stronger. Just because you’ve been hurt doesn’t mean you should shut love out of your life. Open up your heart and embrace vulnerability. The love you find will be worth everything you go through to get it.

5. They’re not afraid of slowing down.

Sometimes you need to take a step back and slow it down when you’ve been pushing yourself too hard. Having drive is great but not at the expense of your health and well-being. Allow yourself time for reflection and relaxation.

6. They refuse to be a victim of circumstance.

Being emotionally strong means refusing to make excuses. Leave the past behind you and focus on getting a little better every day.

Advertising

7. They don’t have a problem saying no.

Saying no is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn how to do. Focus on your top priorities and say no to all the stuff that’s wasting your time.

8. They don’t back down from challenges.

Emotionally strong people see challenges as opportunities to grow and improve their life. Challenges happen for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.

9. They don’t do things they don’t want to do.

If you want to keep your emotional balance and sanity intact, do what you love. Get rid of baggage and commitments that are making you miserable.

10. They don’t forget that happiness is a decision.

Emotionally strong people know that happiness is a choice. They understand the things they need to really be happy. They choose a life of simplicity, productivity, and passion.

11. They don’t waste time.

Abraham Lincoln said,

“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Emotionally strong folks don’t waste time doing mindless crap. They live mindfully in the present, enjoying every day as if it’s their last.

Advertising

12. They aren’t afraid to ask for help.

Every single one of the great minds in history, from Einstein to Edison, had help along the way. You can’t do it all alone, and it takes an emotionally strong person to swallow their pride and ask for help.

Here’s How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So.

13. They don’t hold themselves back.

Self-handicapping is a common trait among emotionally weak people. What this means is you make excuses and find ways to justify your inadequacies instead of finding ways to improve on them. If you want to change something, stop holding yourself back. Just start. Small victories lead to major changes.

14. They don’t mind working a little harder than everyone else.

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Soak in these poetic words from Longfellow. Put in the work, and you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

15. They don’t overreact to things beyond their control.

Charles Swindoll said,

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

Think about how many times a day you overreact to things that really don’t matter. When you start to feel your blood boil, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is this really worth getting stressed out over?” Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’ll realize the answer is no.

16. They aren’t content with a mediocre life.

Emotionally strong people don’t settle for mediocrity. They strive to achieve greatness.

17. They never, ever give up.

Being emotionally strong means staring adversity in the face, learning from your mistakes, and living to fight another day. I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe:

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Featured photo credit: Conner Ching via unsplash.com

Read Next