It's so sneaky and destroys relationships so fast!
As soon as I said it, I knew we were in trouble.
And now, we (and our relationship) were in danger.
Like a floor covered with razor blades, the contempt in my voice was sharp and ready to cut her to pieces if she took one wrong step.
How did we get to this point?
I was feeling such contempt for her — the most dangerous emotion in a relationship.
It's invisible ... like an odorless gas that fills the chamber of your relationship and no one smells it or even notices until you open the chamber door and see the lifeless corpse fall out on the floor. But, it’s also such a natural response (for reasons that we can’t go into here) that only the truly vigilant will be strong enough to guard against it.
It’s the emotion that causes you to be critical over your partner's slightest fault.
If your boyfriend doesn’t use his turn signal when changing lanes, for example. Or, if your girlfriend walks too slow while you’re walking to work together. Contempt sneaks into your life, it’s like a invincible predator, seeking to sink its teeth into anyone it can devour.
I mean this 100 percent —Contempt is the great destroyer of relationships and marriage.
Does it sound like I’m being over the top? Renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman says he can predict at 93 percent accuracy the failure of a relationship when a couple shows contempt for each other.
How did it get to that point? This one predatory emotion — contempt — likely devoured another promising love.
But there is a remedy, a safeguard against the great destroyer
If you don't want your relationship to die an ugly death, remember this sage advice ...
Look for the good!
He or she will disappoint you. He or she will fail. He or she will do things that seem selfish, stupid or silly.
Look for the good; believe the best in them.
Believe that he or she is doing the best they can with the information they have. Remember the person you fell in love with.
Remember her beauty, her tenderness, her vivaciousness, her fun-ness. Remember his assertiveness, his confidence, his protectiveness, his thoughtfulness.
It's as simple and as challenging as that — remember the good.
When you fail to remember the good, the great destroyer of relationships, contempt, slides in ready to devour you and the love you value so much.
Think of the relationships you most respect right now.
I have a couple of friends, David and Laura. They’ve been married over 50 years. Happily. You know why?
Every time I hear David talk to me about Laura, he tells me the good about her and their relationship.
Because he constantly remembers it, without contempt.
Michael Griswold offers private coaching by application. To apply to have your own custom coaching program created, apply here.