Predictors of Divorce – Sabrina Walters

Predictors of Divorce – Sabrina Walters

Conducted a total of 7 longitudinal studies spanning over 35 years involving 677 couples. This study revealed the Masters of relationship and what causes disaster in relationships. Basically they were able to predict divorce with 94% accuracy. Those that divorced. Those that remained together and were happy. Those that remained together but were unhappy What he found is that couples who eventually divorce have conflict conversations with one or more of the following features:

1. Harsh Startup

This refers to the most obvious sign that the conversation isn’t going to go well. In fact, in the Gottman’s research if a conflict conversation starts out harshly, it predicts how the conversation will go with 96% accuracy just based on the first THREE minutes! It turns out that it holds for the prediction of how the marriage will go as well.

2. The Four Horsemen

Gottman recognized four ways we show our negativity that he considers so devastating to relationship that he has deemed them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

• Criticism

• Defensiveness

• Contempt

• Stonewalling

They tend to progress in that order during a disastrous conversation!

3. · Flooding

This term describes the overwhelming effect a partner’s negativity can take, both on themselves as well as their partner. When a partner starts up a conversation harshly, then leads into or the four horsemen follow, a physiological reaction takes place. When this happens we don’t respond with our whole brain, but instead our lizard brain comes into play and we are compelled to fight, flee or freeze. None of these bode well for productive conversations.

4. Body Response to Flooding

The body responds to flooding with such force that a person’s heart rate actually increases to over 100 bpm. Sometimes it even goes to 165. Adrenalin? and Cortisol flood the body and it makes it almost impossible to have a positive conversation. It leads to more negativity if someone is forced to continue in the conversation.

5. Failed Repair Attempts

Even though flooding and the Four Horsemen are painful and difficult to manage, they don’t ruin marriages alone. One of the reasons Gattman can predict divorce so quickly in relationship, is because he is also looking for the repair of these painful elements in a difficult conversation. When there is a continual pattern of not soothing or trying to shift the conversation in a positive way, it solidifies the negativity and causes a lack of trust in the partners, and in the relationship. The most important predictor for divorce is the failure to de-escalate the tension of a negative interaction.

6. Negative View of The Past

Another predictor of divorce is how a couple tells the “Story of Us.”. If the story they remember of the past is mostly negative, and they don’t remember it as “us against the world” or being able to laugh at the difficulties, or honor the difference in each other, it doesn’t bode well for the longevity or happiness in the relationship.

So, It Isn’t All DOOM! There is HOPE! If you recognize some of these divorce predicting factors in your relationship, it isn’t necessarily over! There is hope! In the research Gattman did he (and others) found out that if we apply what the masters do (the ones who remained happily married), we can all improve our relationship and avoid divorce.

In his groundbreaking book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work published in 2000 from his research based on 35 years of studying couples, he lays out the seven principles based on the Sound Relationship House. Basically it comes down to these things: Principles 1-4 Create Friendship
Principles 5 & 6 Resolve Conflicts
Principles 7 & 8 Find Meaning and achieve other purpose-giving goals

In therapy, we often have to focus on give couples skills and some relief from the negativity that conflict and flooding have caused. We have antidotes to those nasty Four Horsemen.

1. Instead of criticism and harsh start-up, use a gentle start-up, eliminating accusatory language and “you” statements. It sounds like I feel _____ , when ___ happens. I need __.

2. Instead of defensiveness, take responsibility!

3. Instead of having contempt for your partner, describe your own feelings and what you need.

4. Instead of stonewalling, learn methods for self soothing and soothing your partner. Give each other time and space when you see your partner shutting down, or when you feel yourself getting flooded. It takes at least 20 min to get your body settled back down and able to communicate better. Then start up with that Gentle Start-up I described in #1.

I also have couples begin to do small little things, often to rebuild their friendship. Kissing before you leave each other and when you return is a great place to start. Start thinking of those things you like and state them out loud. There are many ideas that can begin to rebuild your connection, but it really begins with YOU. Taking responsibility for what YOU can do and what YOU need to change in the way you approach your relationship. Building new rituals of connection like date nights and get-aways, can really rejuvinate your relationship and remind you of what you enjoy about each other. These times away from the everyday grind of life are great times to talk about the last principles of the Gattman Relationship House: making each other’s dreams come true and building a legacy for your relationship. Couples therapy with someone who specializes in Couples Therapy, especially Gottman or Emotion Focused Therapy can bring relief from the negativity and strife and bring hope. My husband and I have been doing couples conferences since 2002, and even though we weren’t familiar with Gottman’s work until long after we developed our couples curriculum, we intuitively knew we had to help couples build stronger relationships by knowing each other deeply, developing a positive conflict strategy, and building a vision for their relationship. So we use the Core Values Index with our couples, which informs them of what motivates and drives them at their deepest level, how this correlates to the way they deal with conflict, and what will give them purpose and vision. In our conferences we use this information, combined with the Gattman studies, (as well as others) to revitalize ailing relationships. If couples are more comfortable one on one, also offer intensives with couples who want to go deep into these principles over a weekend with us alone. All our services and couples conferences are available on our website:

Creating Inner Peace through Mindfulness and Boundaries

Creating Inner Peace through Mindfulness and Boundaries

Guest – Aaron Potratz, Owner and Leader of Discover Counseling in Tigard, OR.
Peace Inside/ With Yourself
  • Having peace inside or with yourself involves many things, but one important piece is knowing yourself. When you know yourself, you understand what’s happening and why. This gives you a sense of clarity and empowerment to take action.
  • Taking time to practice mindfulness is a great way to get to know yourself. Carve out time and turn off distractions to become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and body.
  • Practicing deep breathing exercises is not hogwash! The science shows that it relaxes your body, lowers your blood pressure, and counters anxiety – all helpful at creating peace inside.
  • Learning about your reasons for doing things, including deeper motivations and beliefs, is also vital to knowing yourself. This helps you differentiate yourself from others.
  • Boundaries are great tool to learn – not just to be able to protect yourself from harmful people and things outside of you, but also to protect you from yourself.
  • I will be releasing an eCourse on Boundaries hopefully by the end of February to explain these concepts in greater depth and walk you through how to develop these skills for yourself.
Episode 5 – Good to Great Relationship Follow Up

Episode 5 – Good to Great Relationship Follow Up

Question. How did your significant other respond to the Good to Great Challenge? Sharlyne looked forward to opening her email every day knowing she was receiving a Love Note. Everyone likes to receiving mail that makes you feel great! She liked her gifts and the things I did around the house, but it was the daily love notes that she enjoyed the most.

What did I focus on for 14 days? Here are some topics:

  1. She is beautiful, inside and out.
  2. Roles: she is an amazing wife, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and friend. Each day, I highlighted one of those roles and used examples.
  3. Qualities: generous, fun, spontaneous, caring, responsible, maximizer, listener, and golfer (we enjoy golfing together). Tell your special person that he or she is a special person.

The key? Each day highlighted WHO she is as a person and why I love that about her.

What were some of the gifts? They ranged from large to small. Confession. Some of the gifts were for the whole family. She definitely enjoyed them, regardless!

Here is a sampling:

  1. Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs (she looks forward to those all year)
  2. Hot Tub. Ok, this is for the family, but she has enjoyed it! We were planning on this for a while, but I pulled the trigger during the good to great challenge.
  3. TV mounted in the game room. We are changing out a music room for a game room. She wanted a TV, so we got a TV and I mounted it on the wall. Again, this is a family gift, but she will spend many hours doing puzzles in the game room watching Hallmark movies.
  4. New leather seats for her convertible sports car. This is an older car with some tired leather seats. We went out to eat for lunch on Valentine’s Day, enjoyed sometime around the river here in Portland, then got some estimates on the seats. The car gets new seats on Monday!
  5. Security System for the House. I wanted this as well. When I travel, this will make her feel safer. Included cameras to check out what is going on around our house. She loves it!
  6. Of course, I got her roses!

What were some of the loving acts of help and kindness?

Well, it ranged from helping get the hot tub in place on the deck to charging the batteries in her cars. Can’t believe they both went dead at the same time. Mounted the TV in the game as mentioned before. Installed the security system. Power washed some areas outside. Picked up the backyard. Like I said before, some of these things were for both of us or for the family, yet most of what I did was personal for her. They were things either for her or on her “Honey Do List”.

What was the result? ONE HAPPY WIFE. AND AS THEY SAY, HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE. There is actually a great deal of truth to that saying. Whenever you spend more time, effort and money serving others, especially the person most important to you, it will come back to you in peace and love.

Peace Out,

Doctor Peace, aka, Dr. Randall L. Kinnison

Episode 4 – Good to Great Relationship Challenge

Episode 4 – Good to Great Relationship Challenge

Is your significant relationship just average? How about even below average, or even broken? How do your take a relationship from Good to Great?

Dr. Randall L. Kinnison, AKA Doctor Peace, offers a 14 day Good to Great Challenge to change your relationship, or at least, get it moving in the right direction.

The challenge is simple:

  1. Write a love note every day for 14 days. Focus on personal traits, what you love about him or her. What drew you to him or her in you first started dating? If you are like me, you will need to type it up. My handwriting is beyond recognition! So, my lover gets an email in her inbox every morning. The first few days will be easy. Then, you need to really focus on what you appreciate about your significant other.
  2. Do something that says, “I love you” every day. This can be simple, really simple, like starting with just picking up after yourself. You can wash a car, do the laundry, load the dishwasher. It is the small acts of kindness every day that continues to stoke the fire of love. Love is more like a slow roasting pot, not a microwave. Guys, we sometimes struggle on that one.
  3. Give a gift every day that says, “I love you”. Again, these gifts can be simple and not break the bank. My wife loves Reeses Peanut Butter eggs. She loves diamonds, too! I started the challenge by giving her some roses. I am combining some gifts with some “honey do’s” around the house.

You may not get around to doing a love note, an act of service, and a gift every day. If you need to skinny down, then make sure you write the love note every day.

After 14 days, there should definitely be more smiles and hugs. The key to going from Good to Great? Consistency. You don’t need to write a love note every day, or give a gift, or do an act of service. Just remember your partner, somehow, someway, every day. Say, “I love you”. Do some simple action. Every now and then, buy a gift. BE INTENTIONAL. Marriages drift into divorce because partners quite investing in the relationship.

I will be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with samples of my love notes, actions and gifts. Follow along and see how Sharlyne responds to my 14 days of Good to Great.

This episode of The Doctor Peace Show is sponsored by the Genesis Divorce and Family Centers in Portland and Phoenix. They do three things: divorce prevention, guiding people through a peaceful divorce, and care for you after divorce. The Doctor Peace Team has amazing people trained to help create peace in your home, your work, and in your community.

Episode 3 – Inner Peace

Episode 3 – Inner Peace

Inner peace. So elusive for so many. Today we explore how you can develop inner peace to become a person of peace. When we all create daily habits to deepen our inner peace, we create more peace in our worlds. Join me today to discover how to deepen your inner peace.