The four horsemen of the marital apocalypse:
The health of any marriage (or long term romantic relationship) can be determined by evaluating the levels of these behaviors in the marriage. For example, to the extent that the marriage is defined by contempt and stonewalling, that is bad news, as marriages often do not recover from high levels of contempt between the spouses.
...criticism, defensiveness, stone walling, and contempt.
On the other hand, if the relationship has high levels of criticism and defensiveness, but relatively low levels of stone walling and contempt, that marriage can usually be advanced and evolved.
- Depression, anxiety, or anger in one or both partners.
- Feelings of dissatisfaction, helplessness, fear, or boredom
- "Mid-life crises" and other existential problems
- Child-rearing disagreements and / or blended family challenges
- Illness, infertility, or disability
- Grief over the loss of a child
- Traumas associated with childhood abuse.
- Alcohol, substance, and sex addictions.
- Sexual incompatibility
- Protracted economic hardship
- Ingrained religious, ethnic, or cultural differences
- A generalized feeling of emptiness or being stuck in mundane routines