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Communication patterns that endanger a marriage

Some Michigan couples may be familiar with the work of the writer and marriage counselor John Gottman, who says that he can predict with reasonable accuracy which couples are more likely to divorce. While Gottman says that defensiveness, stonewalling and criticism are all dangerous behaviors for a marriage's health, he has identified contempt as the main predictor of divorce.

Couples may demonstrate contempt toward one another in different ways including sarcasm, eye-rolling, mimicking the other person and cruel humor. However, at its core, contempt is about a loss of respect, and once couples have reached this point, it can be hard for them to repair their marriage.

Whether it is contempt or one of the other dangerous tendencies that has caused problems in the marriage, there are some techniques to address them. According to Gottman, the focus needs to be on rebuilding a sense of teamwork between the two people. One way to do this is to have the couple think about when they first met and what they admired about one another. Another way is for each person to focus on the positive aspects of the other spouse's behavior instead of the negative ones. In this way, it might be possible for them to look beyond their conflict and start working on the relationship again.

If the couple cannot fix the relationship despite counseling, they may want to talk to Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorneys about the next step. As part of the divorce process, they must decide how they will divide property and what their child custody arrangements will be. This can be difficult if the same types of behaviors that damaged the marriage are present in these negotiations. However, their respective attorneys can assist with negotiations, and it may still be possible to reach an agreement despite conflict.

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