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Overcoming contempt can help to prevent divorce

A Florida couple considering divorce may be wondering how their relationship deteriorated. When one notable marriage expert looked at marriages in an attempt to determine why some last for years and others end in divorce, he identified several types of communication patterns that can indicate significant problems.

Called the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," these common danger signs are contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling. The expert pointed out that while all four communication traits can be damaging, contempt is the most dangerous to the future of a relationship.

Communication that shows contempt also indicates disrespect and a feeling of superiority on the part of the contemptuous partner. It can be reflected through mocking, eye rolling, name calling or hostile, dismissive comments. A communication pattern based on contempt fundamentally undermines the security of a marital relationship.

While contemptuous communication can be the death knell of a marriage, if it is recognized, the issues could be reversed before leading to divorce. Instead of feeding into negative assessments that strengthen contempt, couples should focus on building their feelings of admiration, support and love. Sometimes, this can mean re-connecting over past memories of happier times in the relationship. Spouses could also consciously decide to value what the other partner brings to the marriage. Conscious appreciation between partners can help to stave off contempt.

On the other hand, for people who have been through very difficult experiences, it can be impossible to repair a relationship. Instead, the priority is to complete the separation as easily as possible. A family law attorney can help divorcing spouses to protect their rights and achieve their goals on matters related to child custody, alimony and asset division.

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