4 Signs of a Marriage in Trouble

Many times, we know there is a problem (or problems) in our marriage. We often know that our marriage is in trouble. But there are other times when serious trouble takes us by surprise, often because we didn’t recognize the signs. Many of those problems can be traced back to communication issues.

Four Signs Your Relationship Might Be Doomed“, a new article on Lifehacker.com by Melanie Pinola, explains the research of Dr. John Gottman, who studied couples for more than thirty years and discovered the four communication characteristics that he says can predict, with 90% accuracy,that a couple will split.


His four communication characteristics are called “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” and Pinola does a very good job of explaining them. Take a look and see if any of these apply to the communication within your marriage.

1. Criticism

Pinola explains that this doesn’t mean giving your spouse constructive criticism or even less-than welcome criticism, but

It’s an attitude one partner has in diagnosing the other person’s personality defects—and even wanting to be praised for that diagnosis!”

2. Defensiveness

Pinola and Gottman describe this as one persona in the marriage “playing the innocent victim” all the time. We’ve all seen those spouses and some of us have been those spouses, the ones who see all the fault as belonging to our mates.

3. Contempt

The biggest predictor of a failing relationship is contempt. One person takes on an air of superiority (thinking he/she is more intelligent, a better parent, more tidy, etc.) and looks down on and insults the other person. Gottman says this is also a predictor of infectious illnesses for the person on the receiving end. If your partner corrects your grammar while you’re arguing with him/her, that’s a huge red flag.”

The article also features a video of Dr. Gottman explaining the “Four Horsemen” in more depth. If any of these traits sound familiar to you, it would be very worthwhile for you to watch the video to get some more insight.

One Response to 4 Signs of a Marriage in Trouble

  1. Cathy Lorient March 19, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    What do you think about these four signs of a marriage in trouble? Do they sound familiar to you? Leave your comments below.

    – Cathy Lorient

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