Today I am so happy to introduce the first series of the blog. The Four Horsemen. This series will be divided into three blog posts and one podcast. I am so excited to announce that we will be having an expert speaker come in for the podcast, he will share his experience and views on this theory. Are you excited? I sure am.
The Four Horsemen was developed by John Gottman who is an American Psychologist with expertise in relationships, divorce prediction, and marital stability. He developed this theory of the four horsemen which is the theory of relationship conflicts. He says that it is important to identify these horsemen in your conflict discussion and the first step should be to eliminate these and replace them with healthier and more productive communication patterns. John Gottman is known to predict which couples will end up divorced with a 90% accuracy which is just brilliant. I first learnt about him when I was reading this novel titled ‘Blink’ and has many studies and theories about thin-slicing the situation and how we can make decisions in a blink of an eye.
The four horsemen are Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. In this post, I will be talking about Criticism and if any of you follow us on Instagram (link below). You would have seen this as the word of the week. One thing we should all understand is that there is a big difference between critiquing or voicing an opinion vs criticising your partner. John said that criticism is an attack on your partner’s (or any individual’s) character. Personally speaking, I don’t think that is a good thing to do to anybody. Let alone your partner.
Additionally, if you and your partner are critical of each other, don’t assume that that’s the end and it will end. The main issue is when it makes the victim of the criticism feel assaulted, hurt, or even rejected. If this pattern goes on, it causes an escalation every time this horseman appears. Not only does its frequency increase but also, its intensity.
But that’s okay, Gottman also shared with us antidotes to these horsemen. Things you can do to make things better in the relationship. Things to do instead of criticism. The antidote to criticism as proposed by Gottman is to ensure a gentle start-up. Try using ‘I’ instead of ‘you’. It is interesting what he has proposed because if you think about it, it is much easier to put it on another than make it surrounding yourself. For example, “You don’t give me enough time, you’re always busy” vs “I feel that I need more time with you.”
Think about it, and we will post the next post of the series next month.
Reading Material: https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-the-antidotes/
Get to know the Author!!