Bob and Kate saw Calico Criticism and Dandy Defensiveness in their marriage, but now they knew they had two even more dangerous steeds galloping across the fields of their once-a-dream marriage! The more Bob and Kate rode these horses through their lives, tearing up every healthy and nurturing plant once growing freely, the higher the dissatisfaction and destruction to their marriage would be. These two horses would take an extra amount of special effort to recognize and reign in!
Horse #3 – Connie Contempt – Kate was a master rider of Connie Contempt. Kate would choose a subtle ride of Contempt around Bob. Bob felt the presence of Connie Contempt like a nasty fly around your sweetest homemade ice cream! Occasionally, she would mutter a name towards Bob under her breath, but her mastery was mainly the more subtle versions of Contempt. Kate would *sigh* when Bob was cleaning. She’d find herself rolling her eyes almost uncontrollably while Bob was sharing another one of his dreams and schemes. Why! Don’t ya know, she’d even cut him off mid-sentence during discussions of family finances!
Horse #4 – Stoney Stonewalling – Bob would saddle up his favorite ride of Stoney Stonewalling almost reflexively around Kate. Some days Kate might even think Bob was listening to her – only to realize his mind had gone black as the muddy waters of the Mississippi! He would ride off into a cave of “I’m-not-talking-to-you-any-more” for sometimes hours and sometimes days! Either way, Bob let Kate know she was not in control of the relationship drive! Sometimes he was fully in control of the most powerful stallion – Stoney Stonewalling. But some days, he realized Stonewalling and the Cave had a special power over Bob, as well. When Bob felt flooded, Stonewalling took over the ride.
Bob and Kate had been married now nigh on 18 years. Life had been full. Life had been busy. Four children brought about stress that most marriages face. Finances. Job stress. Sickness of the little ones. Life was full of mud holes and swamp lands they just couldn’t seem to avoid. Their once happy and relaxed land had become full of bitterness, with a cold chill in the air. They both knew something needed to change or they were going to hang up their spurs and call off this ride!
Through Gottman’s research, they knew other couples who were happy didn’t have any more or less problems than they did. In fact, unresolvable issues and stresses in a marriage weren’t the reasons why couples wanted to call it quits. Bob and Kate were practicing the reasons why marriages failed. And they were fine and eloquent at riding these destructive steeds! What were they going to do?! Would they go off the range like so many other couples?!
Tune in next time to find Bob and Kate “Learning New Horse Habits”
Meanwhile, if you and/or your spouse want to assess for good habits and not-so-good habits, with the goal of developing a happier and healthier relationship, call 530-268-3558 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Relationship restoration and fortifying can happen for you!