Married Couples Should Examine Their Emotions, Avoid Contempt if They Want Marriages to Last

March 23, 2016

An expert on marital relationships recently spoke with the media and said that a major predictor of divorce is when one spouse feels contempt for the other spouse.

Dr. Mike McNulty works at the Gottman Institute and has spent years studying various patterns and trends when it comes to divorces in the United States.

If you catch yourself rolling your eyes at something that your husband, or wife, has said or done, the eye rolling can be a sign of contempt. But just because you feel contempt in this particular moment doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed to failure or that you should anticipate finalizing a divorce anytime soon. The thing matters most when trying to work through your feelings of contempt is how you handle the potentially contentious situation.

McNulty has found that minor disagreements between spouses can eventually boil over and become serious arguments when neither party is willing or able to acknowledge the underlying problems. One of the keys to a successful marriage, said McNulty, is realizing that it is common for partners in a relationship to occasionally disagree, feel annoyed or even become angry. Partners in a marital relationship should feel free to be open and honest with each other so that temporary anger doesn’t turn into long-lasting contempt.

For example, perhaps you are not really angry at your spouse but are merely deflecting your anger. Maybe you had a tough day at work, causing you to lash out at your spouse when you got home. Or maybe your mother-in-law, or father-in-law, made a derogatory comment about you and now you are taking it out on your spouse. Regardless of the true source of your contempt, the important thing to keep in mind is that you are a partner in a marital relationship and you need to make sure that you and your spouse are both on the same page going forward.

Sometimes, of course, it’s simply not possible to save a marital relationship. In many instances, it might not be in the best interests of either party to continue being married. When you feel that your marriage simply isn’t working, it is best to speak with a qualified divorce attorney who can help you understand all of your options.

For additional information, view the Esquire article, “This Habit Is the Number One Predictor of Divorce.”

If you are considering a divorce or legal separation in New York, you should talk to an experienced divorce lawyer before making any final decisions. Jonathan D. Katz is a compassionate divorce and family law attorney who will protect your rights and help you explore your options. Contact Mr. Katz today to schedule a consultation.

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