All relationships begin with excitement, hope and optimism. We want our new relationship to succeed and we want to deepen our commitment to our new partner. Our deal breakers are more than likely infidelity, abuse or betrayal.
However, in reality these ‘big’ relationship killers seldom account for the end of a partnership. Nor does frequent arguing necessarily spell the end. In fact, arguing can be healthy because issues get aired then resolved. The real risk factors for the demise of love are much quieter and ‘everyday’.
To take a line from the famous T. S. Eliot poem, The Hollow Men:
“This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
One of the most respected experts in the relationships field is John Gottman, executive director of the Relationship Research Institute. He has undertaken an intensive 35-year study of marriage and divorce and analysed thousands of couples over the years. He and his team can now predict, with 80-90 per cent accuracy, whether a relationship will last, based on simply observing a couple for as little as 15 minutes.
Gottman had identified four risk areas in a relationship: contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling. If you and your partner are able to avoid these behaviours you will have a much better chance of enjoying a long-term loving relationship.