Seriously, I am so thankful for the person I married. The strength of our relationship comes from our unity in God. Like any marriage, we have had our moments but we determined to work it out and stay together. So today, I thought about all the people I know who haven’t made it to 37 years. And I know how that happens.
The work of John Gottman in the Love Lab at the University of Washington has informed the path to marital disillusionment. Gottman calls the road to ruin, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. These are the four: attitudes that most predict divorce. The pattern plays out with about 94% accuracy so pay attention!
1. Criticism: The personal attack of your partner’s character, personality
2. Contempt: The personal attack of your partner’s sense of self. This includes insults and psychological abuse.
3. Defensiveness: Playing the victim and pushing off attack, making excuses, whining, etc.
4. Stonewalling: Putting up the stone wall and withdrawing. This creates emotional distance which is a major predictor of divorce.
So tonight, as I gaze at the man I married so many years ago, my heart is grateful, focused on his good qualities and character. I am delighted that he is still my best friend, loves me unconditionally and still has those fantastic soccer legs that drew me to him in the first place. Mostly, I am grateful that I married a man of God, who honors his vows, believes in the sacrament of marriage and moves in the power of the Spirit.