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Bad Communication Leads to Divorce

 Posted on March 09, 2013 in Divorce

The idea that communication is key to happiness in marriage is pretty conventional, and the fact that a couple must be able to communicate well is a given. According to Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington and reported in Psychology Today, communication is by far the most important aspect of a marriage—and this includes not just what's said, but how things are said. The best predictor of a failed marriage, states Gottman, "is when one of both partners show contempt in the relationship."

Contempt, or disrespect, "is often expressed via negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual," according to Psychology Today. Gottman believes that there are four major types of communication that (intentionally or not) show contempt to a partner. Knowing how this attitude is conveyed is the first step to avoiding it, and having an understanding of what can break apart a marriage is important both in marriage and divorce.

Using "you" language, plus directives, is the first major no-no in communication. These include statements such as "You have to understand…"; "You need to do this…"; "You should pay attention." Gottman reminds partners that no one likes to be told what to do, and commanding your partner in tones such as this can lead to bad feelings all around. Universal statements should also be avoided, especially when being applied to one example. "You never…" or "You always…" statements are usually untrue, one, and two, "the general nature of universal statements makes them very vulnerable to specific counterexamples," according to Psychology Today.

Ineffective or damaging communication also includes tendencies to invalidate feelings, in which one partner tells the other that his or her opinions or emotions are "unfounded," "out of proportion," or that he or she is "over-reacting." In a divorce, these are the types of examples that can be held up as where fault lies, so it's important to get a handle on them in any relationship—especially one headed for divorce.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don't go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area divorce attorney today.

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