Health experts won’t tell you that married couples can overcome the flu simply by reducing the concentration of negative behavior in their marriage. Researchers from the University of Birmingham (UK) and Greta Haizi from the University of Tirana (Albania) studied how marital relationships affect health.
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Letting go of negative behavior literally puts the health of partners at risk. Dr. Gottman calls these four types of behavior the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” The term is adapted from the “Revelations of John the Evangelist” (Bible).
Reproaches and categorical wording in communication is the first mistake. “Why did you give me a watch, I never wear it. You always forget everything!” – the habits of making such statements create the illusion that the partner is constantly wrong, and the couple begins to believe in it over time.
Antidote: it is better to understand the situation together and allow the partner to help, and not accuse him of inattention.
“Do you want me to cook all the time? Are you so lazy, you expect me to always clean up after you?!” is an example of contemptuous speech. However, contempt can also be expressed in body language (rolling the eyes, for example).
Antidote: develop a culture of respect and appreciation; do not focus on the shortcomings, but emphasize the merits.
3. Defensive behavior
“You forgot to pay your utility bills again!” – reproach. “But you yourself didn’t put it to me, I forgot and didn’t find it …” – an attempt at justification. When marriage becomes habitual, almost every conversation can become a series of reproaches and excuses.
Antidote: show diplomacy and distribute responsibilities, less often look for the source of one’s own emotional load in a partner.
Confrontation occurs when one of the partners develops the habit of avoiding interaction, and the spouses move away from each other.
Antidote: the only adequate strategy is to make it clear to the partner that a pause in the dialogue is needed, and take a timeout to “cool down”; need to come back to the conversation a little later.