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Contempt identified as the harbinger of marital doom

Divorcing couples in Kentucky and around the country sometimes find it difficult to identify the moment when their marriages became unredeemable. However, an expert on the subject claims that relationships become unsalvageable when spouses develop contempt for one another and lose sight of the qualities that led them to fall in love in the first place. Dr. John Gottman, who has written bestselling books about marital woes, came to this conclusion after observing thousands of married couples struggle to save their relationships.

Contempt can deliver the fatal blow to a failing marriage because it signifies that spouses have lost respect for one another and no longer believe that the objects of their scorn are worth fighting for. This destructive emotion can manifest itself in a number of ways, but it is most often conveyed with disdainful body language like eye-rolling and sneers as well as disparaging language such as mocking, sarcasm and name-calling. These words and actions let spouses know that they are despised and their feelings and opinions will not even be given cursory consideration.

Dr. Gottman's research suggests that contempt in a marriage can be addressed by revisiting the past. While spouses may find it difficult to put their hostilities aside when discussing their current situations, the magic of nostalgia can help to put marriages back on track when couples speak about how they met or the qualities they found endearing in one another.

Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience even when couples remain on good terms. However, negotiations can be especially difficult when one of the spouses involved treats the other with contempt. Experienced family law attorneys may halt discussions over contentious subjects like alimony and property division when emotions run hot and tempers flare. Furthermore, lawyers could seek orders of protection when they feel that their clients could face either emotional or physical harm.

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