chapter  11
13 Pages

Communication Techniques

The "core triad of balance" (Gottman & Gottman, 1999, p. 3), emotional behavior, cognition and perception, and physiology, can predict divorce. Each couple establishes a balance of positivity and negativity in these three areas with the balance(s) determining the ultimate fate of the marriage. Gottman (1994) found that couples headed for divorce showed more negativity than positivity in their emotional behavior and marital interaction. Four negative interactions (complaint/criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling) were most predictive of divorce. Gottman labeled these interactions as the "Four Horseman of the Apocalypse" (1994, p. 110), defined as:

Complaint/criticism: Complaint as an expression of disagreement or anger about a specific issue which may escalate into criticism becoming more judgmental, global, and blaming after repeated and frustrating attempts to resolve the issue.