The one thing couples do which predict divorce with 93% accuracy

It’s not arguing about money.
It’s not arguing about sex.
It’s CONTEMPT — treating your spouse with disregard and disrespect, as worthless, beneath your consideration, or deserving of scorn. divorce Tracey Cox, 53, is an English author who specializes in books on dating, sex and relationships. She has appeared on UK radio and TV shows, including BBC Radio 1’s Ask the Experts and BBC2’s The Sex Inspectors. She is also a columnist for Closer magazine and the Daily Mail Online.
Writing for the Daily Mail on Feb. 26, 2015, Cox warns that the one thing couples do that can predict divorce with 93 per cent accuracy is to show contempt for our spouse.

That’s the conclusion of John Gottman, founder of the US Gottman Institute, from his study of 79 couples for 14 years. In the course of those years, 21 couples divorced.

Gottman was 93% correct in predicting which couples divorced. His prediction was entirely based on identifying those couples who showed contempt for their partner – a sign they saw them as beneath them rather than as an equal. The contemptuous couples also showed other key negative behaviours – criticising, being defensive and stonewalling (sulking and refusing to talk for days on end).

Since then (the study was published in 2002), years of research – including a recent study of 373 newlywed couples – has supported Gottman’s hypothesis.

Here are some other surprising things that researchers found are indicators that your relationship is in danger:

  1. Being the ‘boss’: The person with the most authority feels less fulfilled. Equality in relationships is crucial.
  2. Being over optimistic: Having too high expectations of the relationship usually leads to disappointment.
  3. Putting your partner on a pedestal: Being over-idealiszd puts strain on the ‘perfect’ partner, who feels they can’t show insecurity or flaws.
  4. Over-analyzing the relationship: Constantly questioning whether you’re in love enough/close enough/how well you’re doing makes both of you nervous and ruins trust.

So what’s the antidote to contempt and all the other marriage killers? The wise St. Paul has the answer! — in 1 Corinthians 13:1, 4-7:

If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

There is also a short-cut answer, and it’s in the Greatest Commandment of all:

Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

If you do that, how can you ever treat your spouse with contempt?

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Gale A. Molinari
5 years ago

Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
So very true unless there is respect in marriage it is doomed. Your spouse should be your best friend the one you can confide in, be honest with. Above all others. If you aren’t treating them with respect or if they treat you with scorn maybe it is time to take a long hard look at your relationship.

MA in MO
5 years ago

Great words of wisdom. The study does not indicate what brings about the “comtempt” that one spouse may have for the other. I would say it is this: the husband is a TV alcoholic and the wife is a work alcoholic. Or put another way: “There are those who work to live and there are those who live to work.” –The person “who works to live” has all their basic needs provided, they see no need to work. Thus why the welfare system is not productive. –The person “who lives to work” has their basic needs provided, but will still… Read more »

5 years ago

If people won’t humble themselves before the Lord, how will they humble themselves before a spouse?

5 years ago

Nice post. Contempt. It’s about pride and the “me me me” and “what about me?”attitude so common today. Deny yourself, love your spouse and try to be virtuous towards them. Love will come flowing back. And if it doesn’t then endure. Contempt, also a brilliant book by the self absorbed existentialist Alberto Moravia and a so so movie starring a very hot Bridget Bardot.
5 years ago

I guessed wrong about the direction of the article when I clicked on the link to open it, because there is another thing that leads to a 90% divorce rate…. living together before marriage! And that’s just the people who do then marry, it doesn’t factor in all the ones who live together and then break up without marrying. But I think that comes full circle and right back into the article — isn’t it really a form of contempt to live with someone outside of marriage? Isn’t at least one person in that arrangement saying “I think you are… Read more »

5 years ago

“Isn’t at least one person in that arrangement saying “I think you are usable for my pleasure and my convenience, but not worthy of my commitment”?”
That’s so true,J. The FEAR of commitment is a large part of why so many people just “live together” these days. Another part is that the current Badministration urges people to live in sin,by way of Government Benefits and their forced “normalization” of all manner of sin,financial windfalls,the social and moral decline of America and the full endorsement of the alleged president and his henchmen

quixotic faith
5 years ago

Reblogged this on quixoticfaith and commented:
This is very good. That John Gottman seems to know his “stuff” (relationships).

5 years ago


5 years ago

This article doesn’t make any sense. Contempt doesn’t fall out of the sky from a vacuum, it comes from disagreements about something. Like money or sex or alcohol or something.

5 years ago
Reply to  drudd92014

“Contempt doesn’t fall out of the sky from a vacuum, it comes from disagreements about something.” While I’m not an expert in psychology, one can easily look up the meaning of contempt, and the many facets associated with its meaning. As noted in the research, an indicator of failure is being overly optimistic. Hence this: “A characteristic of contempt is the psychological withdrawal or distance one typically feels regarding the object of one’s contempt. This psychological distancing is an essential way of expressing one’s nonidentification with the object of one’s contempt and it precludes sympathetic identification with the object of… Read more »

Leeann Springer
Leeann Springer
5 years ago

It is already proven that living together before legal marriage usually ends in divorce. If respect is left out of the relationship, then it is doomed. Being friends with each other is important and being able to laugh together. An older woman once said, the reason for so many divorces, is because of what people join together, and not what God hath joined. There are many evil forces today that cheapen marriage, children, and healthy unions. It’s not only finding the right person for marriage, but it’s also being the right person. Some expect more than they’re willing to give… Read more »