What would you consider to the best predictor of divorce in a relationship? Is it betrayal or cheating, perhaps financial stress or is it boredom? Dr John Gottman, world renowned relationship expert, has researched this very topic and come up with one single quality that, more than any other, predicts the demise of a relationship.
Unfortunately, we don’t have to go to school to learn criticism. It seems to be a part of human nature, easily tripping off our lips and often directed toward the person closest to us, but rarely with a positive impact. Criticism seeks to find fault in others, ignoring what is working so that the ‘object’ of the critic’s contempt feels unappreciated, diminished and disrespected. In fact, over time, criticism corrodes love by its abrasive and mean-spirited nature.
Are you unhappy in your couple relationship? If you took a measure of the amount of space criticism has in your relationship, what score would you give it out of 10?
According to John Gottman, ‘criticism is a habit of mind that the critic applies to everything’. Where one, or both people in the couple relationship, are highly critical of the other, there is minimal space for change unless the critic recognizes their own need to change. You see, contrary to the opinion of the critic, it is not the other person who needs to change. The real work needs to be done within the critic whose critical nature is but a reflection of how they see themselves. Self-loathing and self-contempt often hide behind the mask of criticism, urging the critic to seek out the failure of others rather than dwell on their own failure. It takes a strong and courageous person to confront their own self-contempt.
So how do you train yourself to refrain from criticising your partner? Dr Gottman’s answer is to choose not be involved in looking for your partner’s mistakes but look instead for what’s working and what’s right in your relationship. Learn the practice of cultivating a culture of appreciation for your partner and take notice of the ways in which it begins to change your relationship.
Watch the video below as Dr John Gottman speaks on this subject of criticism in relationships.
Are you unhappy in your couple relationship? Is your couple relationship marked by criticism and contempt for the other? You can learn how to cultivate a relationship marked by appreciation and respect. Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on the specific needs of your couple relationship. If you are ready to make an appointment, you can do so by clicking on the orange icon on this page BOOK NOW and follow the prompts.