Dr. John Gottman is one of America’s most prominent marriage researchers … he has spent decades studying marital relationships and what makes them thrive … and what causes them die.
He has identified what he calls the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse … saying that these four attitudes, when allowed to ride rough shod in marriages often prove to be fatal to the relationship. The most ominous of these 4 marital marauders is contempt … that air of superiority that causes you to feel that you are better than your spouse.
What’s scary is that contempt can ferment into a state of mind that your spouse is worthless … and can ultimately morph into an actual discarding of your spouse.
That’s why Gottman says that contempt is the “kiss of death” for marriages and is his number one predictor of divorce.
Have you ever found yourself thinking or saying these contemptuous things?
“You have never been a good husband/wife/parent/lover”
“You are not a real man/woman”
“My whole marriage is one big disappointment because you failed to . . . .”
“You call yourself a Christian but you are not even close . . .”
“I regret marrying you. If I had known you; I would’ve never married you.”
“You have no clue how to please me !
“You disgust me”
“You are pathetic.”
“I have wasted most of my life being with you.”
“You are just like your mother/father’”
How do we overcome it?
First step is to get yourself right with God … contempt is not a fruit of the spirit … in fact it is something that God hates! So seek forgiveness for your selfishness and arrogance … the root sins of contempt and ask Him to change your heart … and to give you the ability to see the good in the one you have married.
Second, begin searching for and expressing gratitude for the positives in your spouse. Paul commands us in Philippians 4:8 whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Now make it a new goal to share all those the good things about your partner with him or her … build him or her up private and in public … and watch that horrible horseman ride into the sunset.