Day 15 – The Four Horsemen

30-Day Couples Challenge

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse predict an ailing marriage. Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling, and Contempt. Contempt is the worst of these.”

John Gottman

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John Gottman through his research of couples, found that what he refers to as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are the key elements that lead to relationship demise.

Couples who communicate effectively have learned how to avoid the four horseman and share their feelings in a way that will not be critical, defensive, contemptuous, or avoidant.

First, you need to identify for yourself in what ways you may have engaged in these behaviors in your relationship.

Use this list:

Criticism- to label, undermine, or devalue a person in some way.

Defensiveness – not taking responsibility for your own behaviors or actions; focus is put back on the other person.

Contempt – Sarcasm, eye rolling, and sighing.

Stonewalling – A refusal to communicate or cooperate – intentionally or unintentionally.

Now, under each of those, I would like for you to identify the ways in which you have engaged in any of the four of these at least once in your relationship.

Keep these for yourself as a reminder of the ways you may contribute to the success or demise of your relationship. Introspection is key in disengaging the four horsemen.

Click to watch the video and download this PDF to access your task for the day.

Even if you have experienced the four horsemen in your relationship, our counselors can help! Call our office at 330-673-5812 to schedule an appointment for couples counseling to continue working through the problems that these horsemen can bring.