Podcast: Masters and Disasters of Marriage

four-horsesIn this 20-minute podcast, Benita Esposito highlights Dr. John Gottman’s 40 years of research on what makes masters and disasters of marriage.

Host: Dr. Cynthia Libert, Family Medicine and Holistic Integrative Medical Doctor. Life Wellness Radio, Blairsville, Georgia.


Podcast Part 1: Disasters of Marriage (click to listen on Dr. Libert’s website)

1) Harsh Start-up

2) 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Dr. John Gottman

Criticism: Attacking your partner’s personality or character, usually with the intent of making someone right and someone wrong. Examples: Generalizations: “you always…” “you never…”“you’re the type of person who …” “why are you so …”

Contempt: Attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically abuse him or her.
• Insults and name calling: “wimp, fat, stupid, ugly, slob, lazy and worse …”  Hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery.
• Body language & tone of voice: sneering, rolling your eyes, curling your upper lip

Defensiveness: Seeing yourself as the victim, warding off a perceived attack. Making excuses: “It’s not my fault…”, “I didn’t…”
• Cross-complaining: meeting your partner’s complaint with a complaint of your own, while ignoring what your partner said.
• Disagreeing and then cross-complaining: “That’s not true, you’re the one who …” Yes-butting: start off agreeing but end up disagreeing. Repeating yourself without paying attention to what the other person is saying. Whining. “It’s not fair.”

Stonewalling: Withdrawing from the relationship as a way to avoid conflict. Partners may think they are trying to be “neutral” but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation, disconnection, and/or smugness. It breaks your emotional bond.
• Stony silence. Monosyllabic mutterings. Changing the subject. Removing yourself physically.

The 4 final stages of the death of a marriage.

  1. You see your marital problems as severe.
  2. Talking things over seems useless. You try to solve problems on your own.
  3. You start leading parallel lives.
  4. Loneliness sets in.   But, you can recover if you use the steps below.

Podcast Part 2  (Click to listen on Dr. Libert’s website.) describes one of the essential communication tools used by people who are masters of marriage. The masters don’t blame, they don’t accuse, and they don’t do any of the 4 horsemen. They use “I messages.”

Speaker: Non-blameful complaints about your partner’s behavior are OK.

I Message: “I feel (describe your emotion) + describe the situation that is upsetting you + make a request of your partner that will help you.

Listener: Gives his or her undivided attention, listens, paraphrases thier partner’s message. Validates their partner. Empathizes.

Listen to the entire podcast for details.  (Click to listen on Dr. Libert’s website)

If you would like counseling to improve your marriage, please contact me, Benita A. Esposito, Licensed Professional Counselor for a complementary 10-minute interview.

Phone: 770.998.6642  Atlanta and Blairsville, Georgia