Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

How to NOT get divorced

Recently I read a really interesting chapter in my 'Assessment of Couples and Families' book. (by Len Sperry) The book mentions 4 things that lead a couple towards divorce. I thought I'd share these with you in order to offer some insight. As a child of divorce myself, I'm pretty bound and determined not to get a divorce. But in reality, things happen and it's MUCH better to divorce than stay in an unhappy marriage because you promised 'for better or worse' or 'for the kids'. (worst excuse ever- you end up modeling an unhappy marriage to your children; not a good idea) Anyway, the 4 interactions that are predictors of divorce are the following: (specifically from Gottman 1993, 1994).
1. Being overly critical towards each other (nagging, nitpicking- unhappy couples average 1 negative comment for 1 positive comment, while happy couples average 5 positive comments for every 1 negative comment)
2. Couples feel/act out contempt for each other (not surprising this is on the list, who in their right mind would want to be wed to someone who hates them?)
3. Partners being defensive and not listening to each other ("more focus is on how a spouse is going to respond to the partner, rather than listening to what the partner is saying," p.17)
4. Stonewalling each other (this refers to shutting down emotionally and just going through the motions with your partner)
Marriage is incredibly hard work, or so I've heard. I say this as a single woman, but one who's in a long-term relationship. I don't know what it's like to be man and wife, (or man and man or woman and woman), but I do know that, while being with someone you love is often easy and carefree, it also takes work every day to keep a relationship alive. Making them dinner, rubbing their back, asking them if they need anything at the grocery, texting them you love them- it's these little things that show you still care. This list was also really interesting to me because it reminds me that being honest, kind, and open with your partner is so incredibly important. Take time to connect with the person you love, but also just listen to them. We all just want to feel heard and understood. It's so easy to just yell or be snippy when you're stressed or tired- we all do it. I'm not saying it's easy but try to make an effort to be sweet, year after year. You're happy relationship will thank you. :-)